Love in Spanglish
There is a tangle in my throat
Her name is Spanish
And she knows
How I feel
I try to speak          with her          in my mouth
But she claws her way out
There are whole worlds 
                                            I can’t describe 
                                                       in 
                                                  Spanish
Feelings trapped mid-flight
▬▬ι═══════════════════════════════════════ι▬▬
Te quiero
Is more 
than 
‘I love you’
▬▬ι═══════════════════════════════════════ι▬▬
Te quiero
Is
a bastard
Hallmark card 
                             in           my mouth
                                      In
                                 Spanish 
                                I want you
▬▬ι═══════════════════════════════════════ι▬▬
I want you          
                                 to know

Que hay palabras prohibidas 
Que se queden en mi boca
Como pájaros temblando          con miedo
                                                                      de volar

When Will I See You Again?
Two bodies             Two passports
                          a  p  a  r  t
In what world 
Are we together?
There is no 
                                                  Space
In
       The first world [or third]
Just a groundless
Future tense
Of
        One more day
        One more month
        One more year
Feels like
        One more lifetime
Without you

The Doghouse
“Me llevaron a la perrera” / "They took me to the pound"
She said
Only, it was not a dog
But her
Who was kept in the cage
“In the detention center
The only atmosphere is
De depresión/of depression
De tristeza/of sadness
De angustia/of fear
¿Qué va a suceder con el caso de uno?
You wonder: what’s going to happen to me?”
If you did not listen          if you did not heel
You went to the icebox
Where the only sheet       was foil
You lay shivering
Like a street dog
Whose bed 
Is newspapers
Because
You cannot claim
                               A home
Excavations // Los Colibres 
They dig in the desert
Hoping to find 
The bodies
Of migrants gone missing
Rings
Boots
Wallets 
And sombreros
Pave the way to promise
But sometimes a rancher
Has other plans
Does not want 
Their human trophies found
They scatter 
Their pertenencias
Miles from severed heads
While Los Colibris follow the crumbs
Or they unearth
A sliver of skull
Calling their compañeras
Who call back:
Be sure it’s not a vaquero,
We dig not for them


ESL or Bicultural
‘English is not 
Her native language’
She says
Because sometimes
I stumble
On syntax
            Or actively use
            The passive voice
English is
A language
I never chose
Like a man
Who thinks no
Is a question (mark)
I ask:
Is English
My native language?
A word problem
I can’t decode
I can recode
I decipher
Her careless words
Like they’re weighted
With history
White women words
Grade me on a curve
And I
          Quit the test
          I bite the books
          I razor the page
          I drink the ink
          I stomp the clock 
To turn back the time
Reclaim my time 
And the words
She                         took                     [from me]

Michelle Villegas Threadgould is a biracial, Chicana writer and poet who covers Latinx issues and resistant movements. Her work has been featured in CNN, Pacific Standard, KQED, New York Observer, and Latino USA. Seven of her essays were featured in the music anthology Women Who Rock, and her debut nonfiction book will be released in 2020 by University of Texas Press. Her latest poetry series, Broken Borders tells the narratives of immigrants, borders, and crossings.
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