“June 1986” by Erika Ayón

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

down. I have to close my eyes to try to remember their
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



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s