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4 Poems by Angelica Julia Davila

a brief hidden history lesson

Tell me of a story where

the colonizers never stepped foot

in the Americas.

Could’ve? Should’ve? Would’ve?

It’s pure spec-u-la-tion.

Che Guevara called it

“nostalgia”, but I think

“mourning” is much more


to describe

what it feels like

to stand and gaze at the

archeological site called: Machu Picchu.

He asked,

“¿Como es posible que sienta nostalgia por un mundo que no conocí?”

But I ask,

“How can I feel such mourning for a world I never knew?”

They hadn’t been finished, yet.

But, the colonizers had

squandered their progress

without stepping one foot

in the hidden city.

With time, the earth then whisper-ed

I’ll keep you safe. You’ll be my best-kept secret. And,

the trees sprouted around it and,

the fog consumed its sight, until

Hiram Bingham! He wasn’t the first one there,

but he’s the one who

“discovered”, “recovered”, “whatever-ed” the

lost city. Never mind the three families who

lived at Machu Picchu prior. Hiram Bingham!

He promised he’d only borrow the artifacts for a year,

which seemed very honest.

Our guia told us, though, that those artifacts

never returned to Peru. “Curated”, “trapped”, “whatever-ed”

in foreign museums.


La Llorona

I am:

Both the colonized

and the colonizer.

To contemplate one’s existence

as only being in existence

because a whole people

conquered another whole people is

a mind-fuck.

My soul somewhere

cries, “Mis hijos! Mis hijos!”

But my ancestors remain silent,


competing with the illusion of having un hijo mejor que una hija

Driving down the block I see the men:

cut the grass, clean the gutters, wash the cars. I see the men with their garage doors wide open,

because machismo doesn’t count unless it has an audience.

Young men, y viejos.

Then there’s me:

cutting the grass, cleaning the gutters, washing the car.

My garage door wide open, as I yell to myself ________.

My father, quien, donde?

My mother’s brothers always taught me to be the son that should’ve been because soy lo único que tiene mi mama.

My mother once thought I was a rebellious teenager, for sneaking a boy over at night. To be fair, she must have seen me as a bitch in heat

when I first dared asked to have a boyfriend before ever even considering sneaking a boy over.

It’s much too hard to have a daughter, or so I’m told. My mother told me too many times, she’d wish I’d ‘ve been a boy because that would have been easier on her.

I guess a boy can’t spread his legs wide open, or rather No puede tirar la aspirina.

I’ve always competed with the son that could’ve been, while still:

cutting the grass, cleaning the gutters, washing the car

and getting told to go get another cerveza for the men in my family.

And still I begged malditos for their love.

Young men, y viejos.



In the beginning there was

a great migration. Nomadic

hunters on a transcontinental


And the desert was without form, and void;

so they settled in southern Texas & northern

Mexico, what is now known as Coahuila became

home to the Huauchichiles, the Coahuiletcos, the Tobosos, the Irritilas, and the Rayados.

And gods blessed them, saying, be fruitful, and multiply. Prosperous, they became.

Unknowing how the tide of new blood would reach further up north,

toward them, toward them, hacia ellos.

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion,”

said the Spaniards when they reached el Norte.

And on the seventh day, ninety percent of the

Huauchichiles, the Coahuiletcos, the Tobosos, the Irritilas, and the Rayados


A mass extinction of plague after plague.

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth

that never saw another day.

And the field needed

hands. The Spaniards

facilitated a small migration de Central Mexico.

They brought the Tlaxaltecs to repopulate

the workforce.

History became very sloppy and not as simple as our pride likes to make it


And the Spaniards said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.

They shall be called Mestizo, because they were taken out of nosotros and

ellos, se acuerdan de ellos?”

“And they shall be one flesh,” they finished.

A desert serpent slithered past, talking about

blood, disease, and rape

before getting stepped on.


Angelica Julia Davila is a writer and comedian in Chicago. Her essays can be found at The Nasiona and her poetry in The Sink Review and Wolf Jaw Magazine. In her spare time, Angelica likes to tweet at Wendy's to complain about how their BBQ sauce tastes differently than it did before.

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