The Crazy-Ass Campesina and La Poeta Muerta

Rocio Soto

Vitsentzos Kornaros,  

the only poet 

who shares my birthday 

and I can’t 


read his shit.  


“To live in the Borderlands” you write. 

Señora, I am barely surviving.  


Google Translating rejatas mid poem,  

Realizing I spelled rajetas wrong, 

Fixing it. 


Still don’t understand the slur.  

What am I doing here?  


I grew up in Georgia.  

There aren’t supposed to be any  

Mexicans here. 

Right between ass-crack and the middle-of-fuck nowhere. 


Ni te entiendo, mujer. 

Llevamos la misma tierra 

en nuestra sangre   

pero ni te entiendo. 


And now I’m sitting here 

trying to figure out how to tell 

fulana de tal 

from creative writing 

that I know who 

Gloria Anzaldúa is.  


Her most insightful piece of advice on my poetry. 

“You should check her out, Rocio. 

I read How to Tame a Wild Tongue and loved it.  

You remind me of her. I think you’d like her.” 


Let this be my disclaimer. 

Just so you know, fulanas of the world. 


All of us  


who Gloria Anzaldúa is. 

And yes, Felipe Herrera, too.  


Congrats, you know two Mexican poets. 

Good for you, you woke queen. 


I stay, 

zapateando footnotes 

to somehow bridge this border  


Yo and you.  


Knowing that they’ll  

never know  

that zapateando  

does not make any sense  

in the context of that sentence.  



me siento aislada.  

I feel alone out here. 

Like they’re all trying to help me 

but don’t know how. 


And I keep praying  

that one day  

I will find someone 

who speaks my language,  

Southern campesina sociolect, 

Cholita del Sur-ish,  

Whatever the fuck it is.  


And I keep praying 

That if not that  

Then at least one day  

I’ll be able to hear you read poetry  

In whatever universe lies beyond today  

And feel  



In that enveloping tongue 

That doesn’t sound like me 

But understands me  

All the same.  

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