My grandparents send letters from Mexico
in red, blue, and white striped envelopes.
The address printed reads, Tepic, Nayarit, México.
A place where our footsteps are carved into the dirt
from countless summers spent there; climbing trees,
swimming in the nearby river, and chasing chickens.
They write about how happy they are we arrived safely.
They were worried because there are so many stories
of people who never make it, everyday white crosses
spring along the border. To tell Marissa that they
are sorry she lost one of her Mickey Mouse
shoes during the trip, soon they will send her a pair.
They want to know about Los Angeles. I draw them
a picture. One Saturday morning, I sit at the kitchen
table, crayons spread out in front of me like a rainbow.
I draw a waterfall, a eld of purple daisies, a lake
with a school of silver fishes, a sun shining over
a mountain. I press the crayons hard as I color,
break the tips off as I try to transfer their vivid colors
to the paper. The broken pieces stain my fingers
like ink. The drawing sent in a plain white envelope.
The adress reads Los Angeles, CA., Estados Unidos.
I refuse to let them know that this city makes me
breathe faster, the paved sidewalks weigh my feet
faces. Words spoken in English rattle inside my headlike loose change. The pavement swallows my
memories of Mexico with each step I take.As the days go by, Mexico becomes a dream I can
no longer recall, fades with each morning.
Erika Ayón emigrated from Mexico when she was ve years old and grew up in South Central, Los Angeles. She graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in English. She was selected as a 2009 PEN Emerging Voices Fellow. Her work most recently appears in the Wide Awake Anthology, and Coiled Serpent Anthology. You can find out more about her at erikaayon.com.