Thursday, November 21, 2019

Jeremy's Orange Sky

Many years ago our (then six-year-old) son, Jeremy, was sitting at the kitchen table with Crayons and a coloring book. I saw him grab a blue crayon and start to color the sky. I stopped him. "What color is the sky, Jeremy?" I asked. 
Annoyance scrunched his face. "It's blue," he said. 
"Are you sure?" I asked. 
Irritation pulled up his shoulders, as he returned his attention to his coloring book. I asked him to put his blue crayon down and come outside with me. The sky was similar to the one in this photo. "What color is the sky, now, Jeremy?" I asked. He made a failed attempt to suppress a smile. We went back into the house. He colored the sky orange. When I saw him grab a gray Crayon I asked him, "What are you going to use that gray Crayon for?" 
He narrowed his eyes at me. "I know that clouds aren't always gray. But that is what I want to color my clouds."
"That's fine," I said with a smile.
Orange skies remind me of Jeremy.

Donde Esta Tu Lengua?

Donde esta tu lengua?

Where is your mother tongue,
Your birthright,

Your badge of honor?
Where is the song

Of your soul,

Those heartfelt words

Your mother sang to you,

Even before you were born?

Why do you call your abuelo


He barely speaks Engles.

You insult him, que no?

You toss his gift,

In his face,

That most precious gift

He has passed on

From generation to generation

Polishing it to shine

So that you, tambien,

Could say with pride,

Este lenguaje es mio,

This language is mine

Yo hablo Español.

Donde esta tu lengua?

Where did you lose it?

Did someone steal it?

Why did you believe

Your White teachers,

Who falsely told your parents

Speaking Spanish will hurt

Your children.

It will make them less.

It will identify them

As other.

Que? Other?

No hay otro

There is no other.

solo estamos nosotros

There is only us.

Why did you believe

Your neighbors who threw

The rock through your

Front room window

With a note attached

Scrawled with the words,

Wetbacks go home.

Go back to Mexico,

With other words of hate

Your mother would not,

Dared not, translate

From hatred English

To understandable Español.

Donde esta tu lengua?

Que no te acuerdas?

Don’t you remember?

Donde esta tu lengua?