While I was thinking about what to post tonight, looking through old writing for inspiration, I stumbled upon some old poetry I wrote around this time last year. “a mi tierra y mi lengua” is an ode I wrote to my home—to the idea of missing it, after nine years away, and to the fear of losing grip of my first language. So, in honor of Latin Pub Night tonight, and the last few months during which I’ve spent a whole lot of time thinking about what it means to be an immigrant, here’s a little bit of my language and my home:
a mi tierra y mi lengua
motherland won’t tell you she loves you
without contact; without the feeling of her tongue
on your tongue or your tongue on the taste of her streets
in an outdated vernacular--
the arms of the avocado tree cradled you five years
in a row the way orchids lined her sunkissed valleys
who cradled earth and fog and holy land;
when tierra santa and Santo Domingo
rolled off mountainsides and tongues the same way
they could not come back to you.
she could not come back to you and she arrives
only temporarily – only it seems she hasn’t touched you
in nine years she hasn’t carried out the scent
of the local native marketplace:
now when she arrives, you forget
her tongue in the shapes of the avocado trees.
Written by Ana Paula Pinto
April is the cruelest month, breeding/ Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/ Memory and desire, stirring/ Dull roots with spring rain.
-T. S. Eliot
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Rice University's undergraduate literary magazine. Here you can find event updates, monthly writing contest winners, and opinions by the R2 staff on what's new, interesting, or subject to discussion in the literary and arts world.