by E. R. Sancez
An ex and a why chromosome mix,
making a DNA cocktail.
Ernesto, scared heartless,
pushes Heriberta to abort,
she says, “No.”
He leaves, a grizzly bear eating his own cub.
She is a village girl, black hair split down the middle,
light skin with a dash of Indian, lays in a lonely hospital ward
stomach bulges like a water balloon.
I am inside with my back to the exit,
C-section needed, but I wise up, turn around, slide out,
premature, left to an incubator,
given 3 days to live.
She prays as her finger touches my chest,
promising to sacrifice her youth for my life.
Leaving see through cradle,
I lay in a ’78 Impala with a mother
unable to afford diapers.
Staring into my light browns,
she finds us alone in a storm of ridicule.
She tries to cover me
like a smothering umbrella from the judgments,
“She must be a ho having a son so young with no man.”
She couldn’t cover my eyes,
they see a family struggling to stay away from mornings
excusing ourselves to parking lot attendants,
abandoned to race against other rat families,
two legs short with a dead-beat shackled to our ankles,
keeping warm next to a stove,
home alone hiding from strangers,
not answering the door for no one,
growing up independent,
every day you looked at me as if you wanted me distant,
away from damaging party years,
going out and working left me wanting things you couldn’t buy
even if you could purchase Disneyland,
a teen looking down at authority,
I hate that you’re my mother!
Heriberta, translating adult Spanish through squeaky English,
makes me feel like an illegal immigrant welfare vacuum,
born American to a foreign example,
learning accents label tongues inferior,
I left your roof, seeking education to dry this wetback,
using university employees to colonize textbooks,
honor the name you gave me,
Erik the Red.
Every second away from your controlling attitude
made regret cover immature moments of disrespect
for you, an abandoned Aztec Princess,
forced to balance a home on her head,
so her left hand can lift a pancake,
right hand ready to punish,
timeouts can’t discipline an attention starved son.
You were always royalty wearing workman musk
left to sweat for peanut shells by a stiff-dick coward,
fathers like him are more bitch than a punk,
more selfish than a lion leaving a cub to starve,
more foolish than a crow trying to fly out from the eye of a storm,
and even though child support never wet his wings,
life wasn’t your fault.
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