Emily Saldivia: “San Fernando Valley”

San Fernando Valley

Show me the burnt mountains
of the San Fernando Valley,
And I will kiss its ashes
like the way my father
would tuck me into bed.
The tall palm trees touching
the fiery sunset,
The same way my mother’s hair
and green eyes looked
on the 405 freeway.

Every imperfection of my homeland
scarred onto my skin,
Goose bumps like earthquakes
and shivers of the bay.
Spanish speaking tattooed
onto my tongue
from the moment I left
my mother’s womb,
Giving me a head start in this unfair
game of a burning sun.

Give me a chance to breathe
its heavy air.
Eating crumbs off the Mission floor
and throwing up minute ready food,
Consumed by those with empty pockets
and too many mouths to feed.

This is what bore me,
Land of romance and repercussions,
Land of stolen homes and suburbia.
This is where it began and never ends.
This is the valley,
Beaten and bruised
to never look the same.

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