How to Love a Mestiza Woman

This poem also appears in the issue “The Necessity of Including Embodiment and Lineage in Racial Justice Work” (Volume 6, Number 1). Click here to subscribe and download the entire issue

I wish I could tell you what it is like to love
a woman who knows and creates, nurtures and feeds love,
a Mexica woman, a Mestiza woman, a Warrior woman.

I wish I could tell you what it is like to go deep into the pain of a many-centuries-old nation,
to feel the sacrifice of many generations,
to see the resilience of a conquered indigenous people with reverence,
to see the steadfast battle for present survival,
and yet feel in your core the living ancient spiritual wonders.

I wish I could show you that to be this woman it takes great strength,
endurance, resilience, great humility to learn through unsolved grievances;
it takes connecting to the cycle of life and its mysteries;
it takes listening to Mother Earth and her whisperings.

To love such a woman you would have to understand:
she has many stories intertwined in the curls of her voluminous hair,
she carries many lives in the balance of her heavy dancing hips,
she has many legends woven into the fabric of her olive-colored skin,
she holds ancient wisdom in the depth of her dark, profound eyes,
she carries the shattered pieces of many broken hearts in her fragmented smile;
she has been tested, she has been trialed.

Mi color de piel es olivo porque soy trigueña,
una mezcla hermosa de claros y oscuros
que han sacado un verde amarillo con un brillar dorado;
El mestizaje que emana de mi piel, su fusión celebrando.

El mestizaje se vierte de mi corazón,
se funde en todo mi ser,
y se refleja brillante en mi piel.

Gracias a este color que me decora
y gracias a mis ojos negros que hablan sin palabras,
en mi tú ves a una foránea.

Que no importa de donde sea realmente,
tan solo se reconoce que no se le puede dar un lugar de origen;
porque ¡yo soy gitana, yo soy hija de la tierra!
Soy una amazona que no tiene medida,
la cual rige con gentileza,
porque conoce la humildad de ser buena,
¡yo soy trigueña!

To love such a woman, you would have to understand,
she learned from her elders that to be woman,
is to be provider, protector, healer, mender, filter, weaver,
caretaker, warrior, survivor, life-giver, storyteller, dreamer, rituals-keeper;
you would have to understand that for all of this she is container.

Laura Soto is a bilingual and bicultural poet, artist, and activist from Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico, living in Longmont, CO. She serves as as Operations Manager at Philanthropiece Foundation, where she supports local initiatives on immigrant rights, indigenous rights, climate justice, economic justice, and youth engagement. She is an active member of the SVVSD Parents Involved in Education (PIE) Taskforce, the Colorado Im- migrants Rights Coalition (CIRC), and Community Language Coopera- tive (CLC). Laura is also an artist who shares her activism via performance, spoken-word, and written poetry. She has performed for Motus Theater, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, City of Longmont, City of Lafayette, Migrant Youth Leadership Institute, Noche de Peña, and Tonos Latinos.

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