there’s no 2nd generation 101

 

still, my voice keeps catching on the past

tenses of spanish verbs. like my ancestors

are playing dudo in my amygdala. like my

heritage is a stack of torn up party napkins.

 

only yesterday, i learned how to speak—

scraped my mouth full of peppery papaya

seeds, chewed, swallowed, retched up

full sentences of poetry and black

 

saliva. today, i ask my mother if i will

ever see honduras; she pulls US travel

advisories out of the long basketball

scar across her knee—the advisories turn

 

into birds cawing outside my windowsill

at midnight. i ask my mother if i will

ever see costa rica; she severs her own

deltoid and pulls from it grandmother’s

 

jaundiced right eye, says she fears death

will soon be our history’s home. america

has mistaken itself for a benzodiazepine,

turns me sleepy when i mention diaspora,

 

runs the richter scale over my unsacred

body—uncovers moments where my

disintegration become synonymous with

my comfort, while other people are dying.