For Some of My Cousins… Who’ve forgotten They Aren’t All White by Sarah Frances Moran

When I was 16 my mother bought me
some Nikki Giovanni poetry books for Christmas.
Later that day,
when cousins arrived, one asked me, “why are you reading
that nigger shit?”

Fast-forward fifteen years and I see second cousins
who will tell you they don’t like Mexicans or without realizing,
they don’t like a quarter of what makes up their whole.

When my grandmother was a child she’d go with her
family to the local Pharmacy where she could purchase
an ice cream cone,
but had to eat it outside.
Mexicans weren’t allowed to eat their ice cream next
to the white kids.

You can live in the suburbs surrounded by every other
white family afraid to live in close quarters with the “coloreds”
you cannot move the Mexican out of your blood.
It sits there inside you and it holds the cells of the ancestors
who sat outside to eat their ice creams. Who picked cotton and
crossed a border you’d vote to close down.

The same blood of the grandmother you cherished. The one who
spoke English but could put the fear of God inside you with Spanish.
Who made sure her children got an education and who worked
relentlessly to build a life here in a country that stills views non-whites
as second class citizens…. was passed down to you.

Yet you relentlessly fuel this pro-white rhetoric.

That Davis bloodline is not strong enough to eradicate
the Almendarez that courses through you.
White power is a façade.

Your blood is tainted.

Remember Frances’ smile
every time the hate drips out of your mouth.

Remember you wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for
homemade flour tortillas
hands roughened by fields of cotton
love that crossed the color lines
Mexican bravery and resilience.

Remember that
you wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for her.

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