Roots

by Elizabeth McGinn


Poetry


Chichen Itza
Photo by Elizabeth McGinn ’21

by Mariela Flores ’23

I want to grow and for that I will need sunlight.  

     But I do not know Kinich Ahau, Mayan god of sun.
     I do not know the gold hidden in the skin of my ancestors,
     I do not know what it is like to feel warmth from the sky in a way that does not burn.
     So instead, I stay cold, and my petals do not open.  

I want to live and for this I will need rain.  

     But I do not know Chaac, Mayan god of rain.
     I cannot feel his thunder in this land they say is “ours,”
     I cannot see his lightning in this smog-clouded sky.
     So instead, I wilt, and my stem goes dry.  

I want to be strong and for this I will need air.  

     But I do not know Huracan, Mayan god of wind.
     I do not know the ruined cities that hailed his storms,
     I do not know the fertile earth that was willed from its home in the sea.
     So instead, I wither away, and my leaves fall.  

How can I grow, live, be strong,
when I have nowhere to plant myself, no soil to know as home?
All I know are seeds to a story of who I could have been. 

     Had blood not been shed in a battle of free will,
     had forests not been burned and history not been buried,
     had the roots of los Mayas not been ripped from the earth and smothered by greed.

 


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