By Florencia Fuensalida
L lorona like the song. Loud. Libelula azul. Longing for the
A ndes, the empanadas. Hunted by where I belong, by the Spanglish unseen.
T rying to include the colors. To not fade in white. Las flores, los mangos y las fresas. Besos and hands on cheeks.
I nmensa. Transatlantic power. Eyes wide and dark like aceitunas, torn between the stars del sur and the river up north.
N omad. Dancing the salsa vieja and the new mariachis that fall in love, but moving from hearts in Spanish to songs in English and abuelas and cazuelas that I took too long to find.
A mor. Eterno. A la luz del sol.
Florencia Fuensalida is originally from Chile, South America. She moved to the United States when she was 17 years old. She is fluent in both English and Spanish. After graduating from college, Florencia returned to Chile and worked for marginalized families to then come back to the US and work with the Latinx community. She now resides in Richmond, Virginia, with her family. She works as a community organizer and helps organizations improve their equity practices. She also performs healing work, and one of her biggest loves is to read and write poetry. She considers poetry to be a tool to process and expand our self-knowledge, and our love for the world.
She wrote LATINA during Hispanic Heritage Month, hoping to honor her Latinx roots and all Spanish speakers living in the US. As she started writing, however, she realized that she was not writing a piece only about how proud she feels of being Latina, but also about the complexities she has experienced and continues to navigate as someone who left her country, her culture, and her family behind. This poem is sort of a raw representation of how she has felt her whole adult life: nomad, always in transition, not quite from there and not quite from here, not quite in English and not quite in Spanish either. As a result of the pandemic she spent close to three years without visiting her home country, and she thinks subconsciously this poem alludes to that longing and the guilt she often feels for not being there for her family the way they (she assumes) wish she was. She hopes other Latinxs can relate to these words and feel less lonely in their own journey.