La Bandera (Amethyst Arsenic)

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La Bandera ("The Flag")

   Verde blanco y colorado, la bandera del soldado.    Green, white, and red, the flag of the soldier.

We draw a line in the sand and hop to the white side. Guns drawn and ready. Wave a far away hello to the Mexican side.

Momma always balanced well on the line; Made a habit of dipping her toe into the Mexican waters despite warnings.

Our light skin has been a blessing.

I never had to eat my ice cream somewhere I wasn’t wanted. I wiggle my line. Insist on learning to make Tortillas. I buy a comal and have my tomo todo next to the Monopoly. I holster all my guns.

I try to think I’d make my grandmother proud.

Most of my family has forgotten the line. Their guns are constantly drawn. The other side lost to generations.

Our light skin is a blessing.

Our grandmother’s ancestry a memory. On occasion it slips in, oh yea I’m half Mexican but they don’t mean to claim it, wish they hadn’t said it and they redraw the line. Aim warning shots.

The walls we build through ourselves are the worst.

I install duolingo. Promise myself to learn my grandmother’s language. I fail but I try.

I draw a line through the line. I refuse to forget. I call myself latina, chicana and queer. I want to make my grandmother proud.

Want her to know that even though her voice was silenced, her language barred, her beauty stifled…

That I will carry it on. That I understand dueling Flags.

That I’ll draw my guns if I have to.

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