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  • For Jocelyn Avelica, and las guerrerritas que me siguen inspirando




I’m starting to believe little brown girls

should just skip school reports. Trade the gold stars and neatly divided

reading score columns                         for four news mic’s

and a dark cherry podium

where Fatima sobbed,


amidst the selfish shutter

of news cameras,


“I saw my dad three days ago.

He looks way skinnier.”


Estas muchachas son living Little Women,

fathers deported during our Second

Civil War, where Confederates drop

their ceremonial robes and sport

Monday’s polo shirt and slacks.


“The problem of the twenty-first century

is the problem of the Color Line”—a black-and-white

insignia called Vanguard America

rebirthed a Nation.


A clansmen’s coupe incites a coup,

and in so doing, crashes into a melting pot

plaza. Black shards expose

the Teflon myth


that a single, gray Dodge

jumpstarted 1860 in an old hickory



Pero if liberals had looked inside Fatima eyes,

hubieran visto a glassy realm: que nada ha cambiado,

except today, white America scraped its own coating

and inhaled a noxious fume.






The ThisAmericanLife,

teenage drama

of undocumented damas,


is to zoom in an iPhone.

Punch in on papá’s lightning-bolt beanie,

as he stumbles inside the squad car.


Brown girls don’t cry for cute boys,

but for dark-badged ones


whose blue bloods in Virginia

let a white man mow down human life,

while brown men, who all their life

have only mowed down front yards,

are ripped from them.


The car is metonymy for Neo-Nazi ,

The car drove backward, like its history.

The car, in countless headlines, was given

an active verb,             “mow down,”

before we ever were.


U.S. geography,

for these coming-of-wage muchachas

is to study American cities—

Ferguson, Baltimore, Charlottesville–

as coffin nails. Each hashtag crosshairs rests atop

their blue-checkered skirt, so the uniform Fatima wore,

while dropped off Academia Avance Charter,


is replaced by a navy blazer,

twice-planchado for the iron-press



With hair pulled away, ears wide

from mamá’s pinches, Fatima paints

her pale grief

in brown Hughes:


A dream detained, doesn’t dry up

nor fester, but is unplucked

from our rusty stake

in this bleeding democracy.


As the next Fatima

announces another city

to engrave.


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