La Morena

By: Esmeralda Hic, 3rd Place Division 2

I am six years old.
My mother is brushing my hair,
She asks, “¿Mi niña, porque me saliste tan oscurita?”
I had never noticed the pigment of my skin before that moment, but from there on I realized I did not match her fair skin or her fair hair, nor would I ever.
I am ten years old.
The hair dresser shares the same Mexican ancestry as I do but she does not look like me.
With bulging blue eyes she asks me how I can handle my thick dark hair and if I have ever considered contacts.
I am twelve years old.
I am in class and my crush Diego asks me why my arms are so hairy,
I point at his equally hairy arms and ask if he can answer the same question.
I am fourteen years old.
I lay in a bathtub filled with lemon juice, I heard it could lighten my skin.
Next to me lies the razor I just used to shave my caramel shade arms.
On the counter lie the many hair products I have used to make my stubborn locks softer to the touch.
My efforts, fruitless.
I am fifteen.
I hate the Morena staring back at me in the mirror.
I hate the dark skin, eyes, and hair I see.
I am seventeen.
I rub lotion on my skin, nourishing the melanin that flourishes within me.
My dark hair is tameless, mirroring my spirit.
My brown eyes express what my words cannot.
The hair on my arms tell the story of my ancestry that I am no longer afraid to express.
I embrace my Latin roots no matter how many people tell me to hide them.
I am La Morena and I am my own standard of beauty.

Esmeralda HicAbout the Poet: Esmeralda Hic comes from a small town in Southern California. She will be attending the University of California- Irvine in the fall. She is majoring in Earth System Science and minoring in Global Sustainability. She wishes to become an environmental researcher and activist to help communities in desperate need of natural resources. She wants to leave behind a legacy that inspires others to respect themselves, eachother, and the beautiful planet we inhabit.


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