My American Dream For Yailynn


By Claudia Meléndez Salinas

Hace muchas lunas
we dreamt of your
strong labios jaguar,
thick African nose
del color de la miel
and your first scream
that was heard
by the aspens of the Rockies
and the skyscrapers of an industrial world
so far, so far
from the raucous volcano
and the patient volcana
that cradled your mother.

It was destiny, perhaps
that pushed the mothers
of the mothers of our mothers
further south, to warmer lands
to a safer place
for the children of the children of their children
to be born in a bountiful land
laden with seeds and promises.

Y hace no tantas lunas
your mother headed back north
to harvest the fruits
of the seeds planted
by the mothers of the mothers
of our mothers
to pluck her pain from
the earth
and mold it into your labios jaguar.

Your skin de miel se volverá
café con leche
your baby hair will be replaced
by a splendid, black mane
and lullabies in Spanish
will teach you what it means
to say te quiero.

Like your mother’s
your hazel eyes will turn green
when you cry,
and your salty tears will replenish
the parched earth that gives us
our daily bread.

We’ve traveled many miles
a full circle
to see your labios jaguar,
de otomí, de beduina, de peninsular
de mestiza,
kiss this land that is yours
that is ours.

We left and have returned
to see you grow
in this American land
that is yours
that is ours.

April 1999.
Los Ángeles, Calif.

Have something to say about this story? Send us a letter.


Claudia Meléndez Salinas

About Claudia Meléndez Salinas

Claudia Meléndez Salinas is an author, journalist, open water swimmer, and cat lover. | Claudia Meléndez Salinas es autora, periodista, nadadora de aguas abiertas, y aficionada a los gatos.