Dos Mundos…Two Worlds
By Michelle Garren Flye
Mama ties back my hair.
Tu eres muy linda, Mija, she says.
You are very pretty, my daughter.
I hear it both ways, bilingual.
Best of both worlds, Abuela might say.
But we left Abuela in Mexico long ago.
Mama leaves me at the school gate.
She tugs my ponytail, smiling.
No tengas miedo, she says.
Do not be afraid…and I will try.
My mother speaks three languages.
Love is a language, too.
How do you say school in Spanish?
The girl asks me with a friendly smile.
Escuela, I tell the girl, not afraid.
Cool, she says. Want to play?
We play tag and I am happy.
Mama was right—there is nothing to fear.
I am brave all day. I am not afraid
I win the spelling bee, all in English.
My teachers are all American.
I can speak to them and I’m not afraid.
I want to tell Mama about my day.
I wait after school, but she doesn’t come.
My neighbor comes and kneels beside me.
She’s American, she has two teenage sons.
She doesn’t speak Spanish, but she speaks love.
Her voice breaks when she tells me they took Mama.
I know what she’s saying, even when I stop hearing.
I’m not me anymore. They took me, too.
She makes space for me in her home.
They are kind, but I know I have no place.
I used to have two worlds, now I have none.
No country, no place for me, no mama.
One of the lost generation without a home.
Y ahora, tengo miedo. And now I am afraid.