My Spanish Speaks

A poem about my complex relationship with my native tongue

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

For someone, who grow up in a Cuban immigrant family my Spanish should be much more fluent than it is. I am fluent but unlike with English, Spanish words do not come as easily to me. When I was a little girl, Spanish used to be easier for me to speak but then I became ashamed of it. I focused all my energy on expanding my English vocabulary. This is a poem about my experiences with the Spanish language.


My Spanish is heavy on my tongue

Mangled as it leaves my mouth


My Spanish is a child in timeout

Asking what it ever did wrong

To deserve such dismissal


It asks me why I reprimand it

For not meeting my expectations

When I never taught it how to


My Spanish asks me why I use it as proof

That I am Latina enough

Then force it to the back of my throat


Why I blame it for being cut up by my teeth

Why I call it chusma* then French beautiful

It asks me why I am ashamed of it


Yet still covers me with love and warmth

When I pay attention to it


My Spanish is my people

Those I used to be ashamed of

But not anymore


I am bringing Spanish back

To the front of my mouth

All the way to the tip of my tongue


*chusma=hoodlum, cheap, sleazy


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Written by Anais Rivero

Aspiring journalist, Latina woman, and film lover trying to stomp the patriarchy with my large combat boots.