In the dirt

My soul remembers the cry of the Purépecha. I grew in the dirt they left my ancestors in. Their sangre watered mi alma, their fallen cuerpos rotted to fertilize my home.

Like every revolution the seed I grew from was not meant to be planted. The first thorn on my stem pricked my parents. The scar I gave them just one more on top of the ones they gave each other. so literally like roses choking other plants out they wrapped so tightly around each other trying to move each other out — but instead they broke and took me with them.

Broken in the garden, on the floor of the  flower beds: I grew in the dirt they left me in. The blood from all three of us watered mi alma, our dreams rotted in the soil to feed my new roots.

and so I grew despite the darkness in the underbelly of the flowerbeds, my thorns among tulips and lilies. Unfitting, damaged, too sharp.

and then one day he picked me as I was budding. I was small beneath the other flowers. I thought it was so wonderful to be with someone unafraid to be pricked by my thorns but it was not fear he lacked, it was empathy.

he knew how he clipped my roots was enough to make me wither. he knew I had not gotten enough sun beneath the flowerbeds, he knew my thorns were weak, my stems soft, my petals pliable.

I remember the day he almost killed me.  so literally like being choked out by the weeds, with one last breath I jumped, uprooting myself, almost killing myself trying to save myself

I grew in the dirt he left me in, mi alma watered this time by my own blood shed fertilized by the death of my own spirit

and before my roots could begin to start fresh another came. gentler this time subtler this time. He repaired my broken petals but I signed away my color, my vibrance, my thorns, my revolution.

When I met him my petals were red like la sangre  shed in my barrio, like my own that had just been spilt. how quickly I left behind my indigenous red for his pure white poison. even though he sanded my edges and blunted the thorns of my revolution. I could still see the scars of my broken petals underneath the white coat of lies. sometimes if I looked hard enough I could even see the red I tried to bleach away.

every time a new thorn came out from my stem he clipped it. beautifully complacent I sat in his greenhouse. I thought I felt the sun on my petals but it was the lamps. I thought I tasted the rain from the mountains but it was from his well.

whenever the wind howled I could hear the screams of my ancestors rattling the glass. cursing me for staying like they had. Cursing me for making the same mistakes they had. Cursing me for doubting myself despite all they sacrificed. their very bodies nourished mine. they begged me to run, to sprint, to crawl if nothing else.

but I ignored them, pushed it down beneath his store-bought synthetic soil. living on nothing, feeding on emptiness. when he stop watering so closely I followed the cries of my ancestors. I tipped over my vase, it broke. with one last breath I jumped, unsure of what I left behind,  unsure of what lie ahead.  almost killing, myself trying to save myself.

I grew in the dirt he left me in. I crawled out of the Glasshouse that had grown hollow and stale.

As I lay in the real dirt of mother Earth. no roots or thorns to show for myself. a mess of red and white and broken and wilted petals:

I heard mother earth, madres Purépechanas, amás de mi barrio scream for me.

I tried to follow the sound of their cries. But I got lost. Trapped in quicksand. I thought I found their garden. It was an illusion. I imagine my ancestors looked on from their throne in the forest and sobbed as I sunk. As another came and violently tugged at my roots and tried to break me.

He did not know their cries, their gritos carried strength behind me. The wind of their screams carried me to safety. Centuries of brujería and female warriors built in my bones. I cannot be broken. I grew in the dirt he left me in.

I am on the path to find that ancient cry for me that echoes in the pits of my soul. That which is the endlessness that can be found within my petals.

They scream like banshees of the past.

They call on me to be beautiful to be red to be sharp to be sturdy.

they spoke:

hija you were not growing in the dirt they left you in. you are growing in the dirt we made for you. you are watered by the rivers of our blood and clarity our Springs run deep. Let your roots sink into this garden you were meant for.

I am growing in the dirt they made for me

– Arieana


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