The Acentos Review - Youth


Lauren Espinoza


chacha, make sure the 25-yr-old’s

toys are properly put away

by the time the padrecito gets

here. a niña shouldn’t use

the perfume of her mother.  don’t

put on deodorant next

to the tamales.  padrecito, play

cards over the fate of her

soul – deal out the devil

so only her suitor (mocoso),

father, and i remain battling

in a game of king’s corner.

chacha, put lipstick on her face, make

sure she is smiling.  we want

her to fetch the highest price.

dowry should be paid in full

so he can drive away in a

brand new car. mocoso,

i see the ace you are hiding

under your skin.  neurosis

claims the feeble minded,

those obsessed w/ _____.

fantasía, chicharra.

fantasia chachalacas

outside our hacienda. niña, your father

has left us, and you shouldn’t talk

to your mother like that.  i

will hear you in the restroom

after throwing up spoons.

niña mala brillante

marcada por la herencia

mira me –

soy tu.

the llorona isn’t postmodern

for orquidea

claiming the lives of underage heroin addicts

in new mexico while she cries “mis hijos.”

not when high schoolers skipping school

still drown in the canal. not when

valedictorian middle schoolers fail

the TAKS because they were in AEP

all year after jumping someone

into their gang.  not when dreamers

commit suicide as they fill out college

applications without a social security number.

still after all these centuries,

she requires sacrifice that her indigenous counterpart

basked in.  syncretism hasn’t taken that

out of her.  cihuacoatl wants you.  she wants

your body.

         she wants your touch.

she wants
to feel your hands reach out

for her as you realize you are suffocating.

mexicanos, she wants your children.

she wants to keep their bodies

for when you forget

who     you  are.

she will always claim our youth.

                   reshape them, remold them

into a new problem

better fit for today.

so that when we curse someone, we don’t place blame on anyone but ourselves,

the llorona isn’t postmodern,

todas las diosas están inquietas.


Lauren Espinoza’s poetry has appeared in an anthology selected by Naomi Shihab Nye entitled Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25.  Her fiction is online at “Label Me Latina,” and she has a poem forthcoming in NewBorder: Anthology.  She is a member of The Trinity, a poetry cliqua from the Rio Grande Valley.  Currently, a graduate student in the M.F.A. Program in Poetry at Arizona State University, Espinoza holds a graduate certificate in Mexican American Studies from the University of Texas-Pan American.