To the Priest Who Told One of My Students That Holding a Forum on Campus Could Make the Kids Act Like “the Savage Latinos” He Saw on TV Burning Trump Piñatas

by Lupe Mendez

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For Rosemary

In my heart, I know a corona lays

itself a wreath around the muscle,

thorns in. It is protection. When she

tells me what you say, I grip at my heart.

I think chingate cabrón. I remember

the four winds wipe away heavy,

that this broad espalda brings you food,

brings you the building you live in.

I am el mundo named Atlas, I am

interlaced bone, the body, the candles in

your cathedral, you, cura—you do not scare

You fallible. You petty.

You clutch heartbeat in corrosive

fake meekness. You take passive and good


Catholic Santa Maria and sharpen a knife

with them. You think people like me

pray like people like you. You lay miracle

hands on ideas so brilliant you rob

them of light. You dark, your words mince—

you want us to remember we are sinners,

you shake the synapse of young minds,

tell them, no, no, be still, a lamb, awaiting field,

wait for the Son. But I tell her, I tell them all—

mis hijos, you are the children of the sun.

Our blood is slick, our eyes are full of letters

yet to be written, our llanto, one thousand

nights in prayer and days in harvest.

Cura, you think we are wild creatures, you think


we are savages. You think like every old ass

white man we’ve had to foot for four hundred

fucking years. No. You flick your tongue, preach

pendejadas to a young india, you tell her

that her heart is wrong. You show her your

teeth, then tell her not to scream. You are alone.

You are the first bestia this child

will ever have to face—but I will teach her

how to cut out your empty belly

language-filled tripas, how to clean the spineless

white soles you walk on, how to wash

out the fear from your eyes.

We will feast on you so, so, slowly.


Capture you, yes, put you in a pen, fill you

with scripture, with the pages of your broken

homilies and images of a white Jesucristo.

Make you eat your words, words for days.

Fill you full of flame and simmer.

Watch out—

these savages love the taste of god.