and south, Texas y México, chain-link fences
and guard dogs protecting us from
ladrones and chupacabras.

Hurry and graduate from ESL
class where they applaud your singing the
national anthem without an accent.

Hurry and enter the English-only
class across the hall where new classmates
stare when you belt out the Star-Spangled
Banner louder than them.

Hurry and ignore those gringa students from the north bitching

This is America. They shouldn’t be playing this Mexican music.
as you step away from the gym-turned-dance floor,
the lines of cheery students bailando corridos y huapangos.

Hurry and continue walking to Abraham

Lincoln’s memorial during your first out
of state trip, forget that kid quoting
Dora’s ¡Hola amigos!

Hurry and get those high school and college
credits—oh, wait, you’re struggling with AP
Spanish? Both the speech and writing?
You shouldn’t be.

You’re Mexican-American.

Surrounded by words—Spanish, English, slurs

of the two now known as Tex-Mex and Spanglish, in bookshelves
where duendes hide, the songs I now sing when alone
at home, the self-censoring of two tongues inside university hallways.

Push against those borders. Those
              Nobody will read you.
              You’re just a minority.
              Consider changing your name.
              Hola amigos.

Magaly Garcia received an MFA in Writing & Publishing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has been published in Along the River III, UTRGV’s The Gallery (2013, 2015), VCFA’s Synezoma, and Francis House. She lives in south-south Texas, and when she isn’t writing she is summoning fantasmas to haunt her cat and cactus.

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