A Salvadoran Heart

A Salvadoran Heart  by  Carlos Lara

A Salvadoran Heart by Carlos Lara



I come from women of corn and cotton fields / of machete and fire / of water and stone / I am the daughter of a river and mango tree / my tongue came to me through the jocote seed / my heart belonged to the ocean / before it found my body


Every man I have loved does not know my country / has not been awakened by the roosters’ crow / does not know the swell of grass and dirt beneath June thunderstorms / does not smell burning wood and think of home


I learned to forgive before I learned to speak / to turn palms upward to God and my lover / to let a man ruin me with his love / to call the ruins sacred / to uproot everything and call the new place mine / to name the nostalgia something sweet / a ripened fruit growing out of a drying tree


My father died and my mother remained alone / I am thirtythree and unmarried / I am asked if I want a husband / asked if I will return to my country / they are the same question / I do not want to answer