“They Call us Alien”

Flickr/Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center

Flickr/Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center


My mom came to the U.S when she was 14


Hair thicker than her accent


Crossed planes of desert with nothing but water

and the prayers she kept in her pocket


Grew up here cleaning toilets in houses she’ll never get to live in


Had 7 children, when I was younger I remember learning our multiplications together

Watched Barney the purple dinosaur like it was the gospel


Never thought of our lives as awful

until someone told us it was

We bounced from place to place so much you’d

think our lives were a 25 cent bouncy ball


Being thrown into a million directions


Eventually being forgotten under the couch cushions of life


Being suffocated by the constant weight of others

Being safe and secure is a luxury we cannot afford


Not that we can afford any other luxury either

when my mother makes

less than minimum wage


More than she’s used to but not what she deserves


Immigrant students are treated like mutants


Being told they are denied financial aid and in- state tuition because of their status


They say this like it’s supposed to be an apology


I’ve had it with them saying “maybe there are some borders that can’t be crossed”


The exhaustion of fighting between deportation

and diploma has weighed down

our minds


But we will rise

The following night of the elections I asked my

mother if she was worried she said:


“Mija, I am too tired to be worried”

Her favorite things to draw are planets and stars    

when I asked her why she said:


“When they call you alien enough you start to feel homesick.”

She says I wish I could fly far, far away until I

can’t see my past anymore


Dear immigrant individuals

Who came here clinging to their mother



You are the stars shining


You are luminescent


Making your own light in darkness


Even when your darkness is something you’re

trying to get away from

because it has hurt you the most


You burn so brightly the sun can’t look at you for too long


Keep fighting


We need you


We care for you


We love you