I come from the brick and mortar that paved the streets I grew to know,
to be afraid of long walks to home, wherever that may be;
under, perhaps, streetlights that pour over the night’s pitch, fear,
anxiety, siren wails, a baby’s cry when waking to this world undefined and unwanted.
I was never known to be hostile, but a sunset that never rose, a melancholy voice,
tangled ivy, a silenced zephyr on standstill. How do I nourish poverty’s skeleton?
Strewn are glass splinters, tossed are cigarette embers, our lives smothered under
no success, no value, no hope, no future.
I come from a language never heard before: Que sabes? No te entiendo.
In my family’s land an old woman heals me with a prayer, Sana, sana culita de rana…
But, I am still an anomaly.
I come from the hands that keep my words so they are not lost, so they are not wasted
on those who I had loved, burned like the red sap on a dying tree.
I had never known the wilderness beyond my dreams, beyond the window that spares me
from its heart that beats beats beats beats red.
I come from the solstice charm that affects the heat locked between our hands.
I come from memories renewed to never lose sight of you, wherever you may be. I had
not forgotten, and I am here as fresh snow, alive, and waiting to be heard. I lay
myself into the absence of your light, the shadow of my night. I am
the whisper you heard before I left.
I come from the shedded stars above your crown, adorning you with the
brilliance I knew you as. I couldn’t tell you where my foot follows, but in the night
I feel myself rise, rise, rise above. Am I almost there? Am I to where I belong?

–Natalia Vargas-Caba

Natalia is from the Bronx, and finishing her undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence College on Creative Writing, Spanish, and Latin. She may be reached at

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