Julissa Gómez Ruvalcaba, is a Mexican American woman who was born and raised in Northern California. This year she will enter University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Applied Sociology Master’s program. There she will work toward creating accessible language for the Latinx community so they may begin to contextualize their trauma and begin their healing process. She hopes to apply what she learns to her future career as an academic outreach program director. In her free time, she listens to SECHSKIES, watches Seinfeld reruns, and considers the phrase, “No hay prisa en la vida”.
A phone call made my eyes water
.2 minutes 52 seconds with some change
.Recorded Monday, September 28th, 2020
.No consent given
.You ask my grandmother who by this time
.has gone on a trip
.return time unknown
.si hay pájaros afuera
.Pero como saben todos
.los vecinos, los chismosos
.los pájaros que no hay
.no más están
.en la mente de mi abuelita
.Pero! Ms. Ita!
.Y como hacen ruido!
.A memory reappears
.de los pájaros que no hay
.No hay Amá, no hay
.I pass birds filled with cages
.hand in hand with my mother
.The smell of dirt as I kissed your hand
.We played a game where you catch my hand
.but never do
.I no longer play this game
.I merely glance at my hand
.a light massage on my right when tight
.how it would reappear with a call
.One I could say to a stranger on the street
.Si los pájaros todavía hacen ruido?
.the owner is gone now
.Does he worry about the birds?
.There were so many
.Y como hacían ruido.
.Are they hungry
.Do they cry songs to soothe their worries?
.of how the owner is gone
.On occasion I miss him
.But they miss him
.They really miss him
.Ellos lo extrañan
.I ask the question Amá
.Qué cantaron los pájaros?
.that you asked
.Si hay pájaros afuera?
.Please tell me.
.My eyes watered when you asked this question
.The drought ended
.The streams filled
.The salmon went uphill
.My father harvested the crops with the call
.He ate his oranges
.Yegua ate her grass
.Her belly got full
.We were satisfied
.I wrote this poem years later
.And abuelita though you disappear, you will disappear abuelita
.the memory remains
.de los pájaros y que bonitos son
.I understand why you see them
.She, her, your daughter, your blood
.uses repetitious conversations
.to lure you back
.Y los pájaros?…. los pájaros? LOS PÁJAROS!
.Ya, ya, hacen ruido.
.No los escuchan?
.Similar to keeping a porch light on
.We ask si hay pájaros afuera
.To put you inside a bird filled with cages
.So we may admire you
.As you sing a song about your owner
.who we lost some time ago