A woman bent
to pick tufts of synthetic cotton from the ground.
She said, “Oh, excuse me; con permiso.”
Her round face held the pain of a Tejana mother, aged valleys and low sloping hills.
I'm from here
I've mostly ever known the swelling terrain of the Great Lakes
Evergreens probably would never thrive here,
Nor nopales there... yet, here I stand waiting for a bus to downtown.
I am a different kind of woman
One who watches the horizon
for what may come. A bus? A stranger? A neighbor or hint of moon.
I spend my day writing out expressions
about our barrio --of which grandmom called Tripa Heights.
She had a way of renaming for us in the best ways
“What, Heaven?” she'd implore.
She meant to translate our world to living light
To wrap up experience like a baby and put it in my arms.
I held her as heaven-- little arms outstretched in the sun.
The sky of our youth warm and green
The long grass and I stood at the bus stop
Prickling at summer clouds floating through our barrio.
VIKTORIA VALENZUELA is a creative nonfiction poet activist whose work appears in such publications as MUTHA MAGAZINE, AMP (Hostra University), THE MALCS JOURNAL and A PRINCE TRIBUTE ANTHOLOGY: I ONLY WANTED ONE TIME TO SEE YOU LAUGHING. She is an educator, a Macondista, and the organizer of 100 thousand poets for change in San Antonio. Her writing keeps keen focus on Chicana mothering as decolonization and political action.