Karla Cordero


twenty years older than her palms         & my hands slice        the necks
of marigolds     offer their afro-petal heads to ask       did sun between
corn husk bath in the warmth        of your cheek first                  did he
offer leather          the dead deer shot by       the greed covered bullet
                    offer red meat                           what part of my bones belong
to the ship                   that broke the sea        that broke your tongue
                                 did he lace every birthed child in silver             
spoon fed a language unknown                               to half the blood they
own     choked on each letter         i give these thoughts many names:
clipped wings       
                                                 wind         as myth       
                                                                       the acrobat who lives in this flesh



Using sections from Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera

definition for ghost-mouth

I remember being caught speaking Spanish at recess—

that was good for  three licks on  the knuckles with    a

sharp   ruler. I remember being sent to the corner of the

classroom for “talking back” to   the  Anglo     teacher

when all I was      trying  to do was tell her how to

pronounce   my name.    you want       to be American   

speak  American. If you don’t like it go back to Mexico

where you belong.

Karla Cordero is a descendant of the Chichimeca tribe from northern Mexico, a Chicana poet, educator, and activist, raised along the borderlands of Calexico, CA. She is a Pushcart nominee and has been offered fellowships from CantoMundo, VONA, Macondo, The Loft Literary Center, Pink Door Women’s Writing Retreat. Her work has appeared and forthcoming in The Boiler Journal, The Cosmonauts Avenue, Tinderbox, Word Riot, Poetry International, among other anthologies and publications. Karla’s chapbook, Grasshoppers Before Gods (2016) was published by Dancing Girl Press and her first book is to be published by NOT A CULT. Publishing (Fall 2018).