Hija De La Prieta by Katalina Rodriguez


Katalina Rodriguez is an attorney, musician, poet, curator, community advocate and co-founder of ELKAT Productions. She brainstormed and co-produced the “Smokin’ Word” LP, a charitable album, by world fusion band “Machete Movement”, of which she co-directed. She was a featured artist in the Full Circle Ensemble’s sold out theater production, “From the Page to the Stage” and “Misconceptions”. She co-curated a monthly open mic in the Bronx called, “Smokin Word Open Mic Series”. Currently, she resides in her hometown Chicago with her husband and son.

I need to shed

your expectations

away from my flesh;

out of mind.


So easy

to see yourself in me.

Our eyes

held by the same almond shape.

Pools of deep brown,

reminiscent of our ancestor’s,

looking out from pyramid walls.


They called me

“Hija de la Prieta.”

The one who stood out in a crowd.

Not for your stature,

but for the incredible beauty

you exuded,

or so the story goes.


You shared your

life’s expectations with me.

Burdened me with the task

of living out every dream,

accomplishing every goal,

set out in your mind.

All deferred for my future.

You remind me at every turn.


Desde niña,

you taught me

how important

my appearance was.

Being sub-par, too gordita,

didn’t deserve your full love

and attention.

Nor, could I wear

those beautiful dresses,

tulle lined with satin

that were made

to carry wind,

where dancing,

skipping and running

all looked like acts performed

on a bouncing cloud.


“They will laugh at you”

you said.

I always wondered

if you would laugh too.

Feign ownership of me,

because I was a far cry from you.



what am I to do now

with all the hurtful memories

of your stinging hand

on face and backside.

Your anger and frustrations

taken out on me,

because I was not

who you wanted me

to be?


Your comparisons

to your own vanity

made me wish I was a boy.

My brother never got beat

for his size.


Constant humiliation

drove me to take

those magic pills

meant to cure me

of my self- hatred.

Most importantly,

they would silence your voice;

the voice that

lived always in my head.


How quickly

our world turned upside down

as the pounds melted off.

My worth

grew heavy in your eyes.

I was now worthy

of your public affection.

You quickly spoke

of our affiliation

when strangers would notice

the beauty I “became.”



something was wrong

with my dosage.

The pill’s affects

must not have fully kicked in.

I still hated myself.


If possible,

I hated you more

for proving me right.

That you’d only show me love

if I was a smaller size.


What was it

that made you hate me so much?

Were your beauty queen stories

even true,

or did I really

remind you…

of you?


The Acentos Review 2019