Poetry
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TO FLOWERS THAT BLOOM BETWEEN BORDERS by Nancy Valladares

TO FLOWERS THAT BLOOM BETWEEN BORDERS by Nancy Valladares

My oldest friend told me a story about a puente and desert flowers

the puente is called love
the place we cross over
to encounter familia y amigos

when the palabras we speak
are not enough
to mend the chasms
between territories

on this puente
a madre told her daughter
she couldn’t give
what she needed most

“ I am proud my little flower, but you have reached the clouds.
My heart is made of the earth where I was born
but your roots straddle borders,
and your petals grow lushly into soil I cannot reach.”

so she learned by herself

                                                              how to become solace and shade in desert heat
                                                              how to steer a boat in a tempest
                                                              how to soothe swollen feet and hands
                                                              how to become fire and embers on foreign winters
                                                              how to negotiate
                                                              how to translate

meet me at the bridge,
the daughter told her madre
where we can speak the idioma
where no words need be spoken out loud.

TO THE FLOWERS THAT BLOOM BETWEEN BORDERS is the fifth, and last poem, in a series composed of five poems. One will be posted each week of September. You can find the first poem: here.

Nancy Valladares is Honduran by birth, of Mixed ethnicity, and an immigrant– she is unapologetically brown. She lives and studies in Chicago, working to get her BFA at SAIC. You can find her on tumblr and instagram. Illustration by Sophia.

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