Call Me Gringa

Samantha Neville ‘19

Call me gringa, cousin

Call me gringa to my

high cheekbones —

peel away the layers,

excesses of too many

tamales, tortas, tostadas,

And it is true

you will find the cheekbones

my mother bequeathed me


Call me gringa,

I respond in a tongue

intimate with the accents

and tildes of Spanish,

Not my mother tongue,

No — my mother’s tongue, 

one that does not spit the

double r in burra and borrar,

but cradles it, nestles it,

Makes love to it,

Flutters its wings till it flies


Call me gringa,

I snicker in Mexican, a

laugh that smacks hollow,

suggesting my own mortality,
can’t kill what’s already dead, a

mocking Moctezuma’s revenge

only vanishing into silence

like a desaparecida, a laugh

bleeding Catholic guilt

and the color of a cempazuchitl


Call me gringa —

My pulse blazes and flickers,

like candles on Day of Dead