Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Loteria

photo © Mark Butkus
A game of chance?

La Sirena
El Mundo
La Mano


Cartas de loteria
The first game I played en español
con frijoles to mark the cards
as we sat around the dinner table

My first words in Spanish
because my parents were afraid
to teach me the language
remembering signs of,
"No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed"

And how as a girl she was locked
in a closet for speaking Spanish
in Tejas
that was once Mexico

El Nopal
El Sol
La Calavera


I studied the cards
explored Mexico
by bus, by car, by foot
from Tijuana to Chiapas

My journey
a loteria game
that led me
to you


— Teresa Puente


Teresa Puente is a Professor of Journalism at Columbia College in Chicago and writes about Hispanic issues at Chicanisima. She also encourages Latina women to write and publish their own stories in Latina Voices. Loteria, first appeared in Last Call: Poems, Stories and Art from the Costalegre.