Your Tamales Remind Me Of A Nightmare; Por Favor Señorita, No Me Lo Recuerdas De Esa Noche; Signore, Remember Your Muse; Face Paint

Your Tamales Remind Me of a Nightmare

black bean paste crawls through
my mouth, raising
the salty-sweet papillae on their hind legs
before slicking them
down with a glutinous caress.

crushed taco bits stirred in are
shattered glass needles poking
into your uvula, before descending, dragging
along the callow shreds of tainted meat
into a convulsing abyss.

the burned corn husk would
have tasted better
than this aching mess.

Por favor se ñ orita, no me lo recuerdes de esa noche

señorita, the smell of your tamales
remind me of the borderline crossing
that gave me a limp and deportation- para siempre.

we were so careful,
sneaking past guards
and stuffing the others with our hard-earned money
(an investment for the money we would have earned)
but they found us-
their sneering faces chased after us in the dark,
the sudden floodlights illuminating their
cheap knock-off sombreros.

to them, we are aliens.
stomped down, ostracized from their country-
just like the meat you pounded into that perfect shape
to fit into American corn husks.
but they still fell apart in the
unyielding oven.

signore, remember your muse

scripting pens scrawl over the white-washed wall
impregnating to the clandestine seams
with il pittore’s nubile portraits of
the demise of his afflatus.

winter oil pastels spin out sgraffito–
the viscosity delineating the silhouette of a swallow
lacerated by the mondegreens of
her neoteric star-spangled identity.

beeswax splatter the canvas in a flurry,
making the swallow weep tears of obscure obligations
and abandoned memories of her inherent Italia-
all forsaken by the lure
of an impossible American dream.

Face Paint

black soot marks smear my face-
an epidermis of cobweb lies.

they say what i see is reality,
but i feel it is more like a thrown away allegory
recycled, tumbled down low
before being spit out into my conscious.

i just need to remember that
adding something different can
make it my own, but
will black soot
be enough to change me?

Erica Lin, Age 15, Grade 10, Hunter College High School, Gold Key

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