M’ija, she said to me softly, I will show you that the thickness and pigment aren’t really much.
Abuelita came with a knife
then held me carefully
in her callused canvas-hands.
Slowly and with the skill of her years,
she peeled my skin from me
placing the winding shavings
on the counter beside the sink.
M’ija, she said to me softly,
I will show you that the thickness
and pigment aren’t really much.
When she had finished taking
the scars and burns from childhood,
and the toughing skin of my own palms
and soles of my feet, she split me.
First into halves, then quarters
and finally into eighths.
I will show you there is more
than one side to a self.
She took from me: language,
the continents of my descent,
Patria, sex, and God.
She rid the juice of pulp
and placed aside the seeds.
When all was laid before me,
You will see now, m’ija.
You will see now.