“Portrait Of Modern America” by Martiza Ocampo

I knew you once
              the beacon
that no one saw
but felt

I crossed borders for you
silenced my mother tongue
and erased
trace I could of my

you demanded more

My skin bears the scars
from the years
that I tried
to scrape my color away
for you
to see beauty

I accepted your truths
looked down upon myself
for setting back
the progress
that you sought

I loved you

Forgave your mistakes
forgot about your history
and stood by
when you most needed me

I accepted you

So much of myself
was lost
in a trade
where I received
empty promises

I have felt
your warmth
I’ve seen the good
that you can do
and I know
of your fragility

But I have
grown tired
of lying
as you take
and leave nothing
but shame


Maritza Ocampo is a proud daughter of Mexican migrants and received her MFA in Fiction from Cal State San Bernardino. Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles she views writing as the opportunity to reveal stories of communities and individuals that often go untold. You can find her work in Huizache, The Acentos Review, and San Diego Poetry Annual.



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