From Chicana Falsa and other stories of death, identity, and Oxnard
by Michele Serros
My sincerity isn't good enough.
when I request:
"Hable mas despacio, por favor."
My skin is brown
just like theirs,
but now I'm unworthy of the color
'cause I don't speak Spanish
the way I should.
Then they laugh and talk about mi problema
in the language I stumble over.
A white person gets encouragement,
for weak attempts at a second language.
"Maybe he wants to be brown
and that is good.
My earnest attempts
make me look bad,
"Perhaps she wanted to be white
and that is bad.
I keep my flash cards hidden
a practice cassette tape
'cause I am ashamed.
I "should know better"
they tell me
Spanish is in your blood.
I search for S.S.L. classes,
(Spanish as a Second Language)
in college catalogs
with my grandma.
who gives me patience,
permission to learn.
And then one day,
I'll be a perfected "r" rolling
tilde using Spanish speaker.
A true Mexican at last!
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