Jesús Cortez


Jesus Cortez is an undocumented immigrant who resides in West Anaheim, California. He writes from the perspective of a man raised by his single mother. Through his writing, he attempts to bring the stories rarely told about Anaheim and the people in it.


She was just a little girl

when someone told her to hang

her reboso on the back of her house,

because los reyes magos

came every sixth of January to give presents—


She ran to the back of her house

the following morning to find

an empty reboso hanging,

she was forgotten by los reyes magos

as she was forgotten by the world—


She was only twelve when she carried

her first child in her reboso, a holy shelter,

she wished that the child would never

feel the madness of the world outside,

she wished he would eternally remain in her bosom—


She wrapped her grandchildren in

her holy reboso, as they grew and spoke

a different language, but loved her nonetheless,

the matriarch and her reboso,

she was the mother of them all—


She was taken to her gods

in her reboso, as the earth took

in her beloved child,

now we pray to her beloved memory,

and her holy reboso that cradled us all.




Anaheim By Night 

The old woman looked out the window

expecting divine signs to appear

before her eyes; the shadows

of midnight broken by blinking

helicopters, and then the inevitable

siren; she had wished to give him

a better future, if only she could

get him to live through his present—

she remembered the songs he

would sing as a child, or when he proudly

showed her his latest drawing,

even when she was too busy to smile, too angry

to see his; and now as she caresses

her rosary beads, she wonders

why her child chose the night over

a home broken by more than one

tragedy, the answer was in her

question—and yet she kept hoping

that the door would open and her boy

would appear through the door so

she could hold him tightly and give

him all the kisses she missed at

his kindergarten play, and the smiles

at his first communion—the silence

returned as she fell asleep, whispering

to god and the city to let her boy

live another night, maybe even another day.



Anaheim Monuments 

There is a statue, near the homeless camps,

among the bodies of men and women

who have become like the grass at La Palma Park


Surrounded by a fence to keep the new neighbors

from leaving and their dogs from escaping

stands the monument to Bruno the dog


Hero to the badges and martyr for the cause of

All Lives Matter, proud stands Bruno as

proud as the Statue of Liberty and false promises


A few blocks away remain monuments for the

martyrs of a city in denial—sometimes

you wish you were a dog so your life could matter. 

© The Acentos Review 2017