There are two prayers mi ama taught my brother and I to recite every night before going to bed. I remember my brother and I would sing them aloud in unison before closing our eyes and placing all our trust into these worlds.
We’d end them with a click in the tongue, adding a new sound each night.
I recite them each night to this day. Not fully knowing who is listening, knowing it wasn’t or isn’t the god I was told was on the other end, but still, continuing to sing them, even if only to myself.
I was taught to believe there was someone out there, bigger than I, bigger than all the stars combined, deeper than the oceans, brighter than the sun that hits,
someone who in fact created all of these moments, that had the best intentions set for me, my parents, their parents, and all those I see and feel.
But, when you grow up in a place that feels familiar in all the ways it should and could, yet, you learn to lower your head at the sight of a man in a blue uniform, to never say your parents’ names aloud, to see them cry and not know why it is that the only way they come in contact with their parents is through a screen, you realize that, that person that was supposed to be mightier than all the wind, is a lie.
Hasta mañana si dios quiere que descansen bien,
Llegó la hora de acostarse y soñar también,
Porque mañana será otro día,
Hay que vivirlo con alegría.
This time however, not to god el todopoderoso, pero a mis ángeles guardianes y a mi misma.
I never was given the opportunity to meet my parents in the way I know them now while growing up. They worked long hours to feed us,
with their heads held high.
I learned survival within their shadows.
I learned that each day that mis padres walked out the door could be the last.
I learned that not fully knowing them wasn’t their fault, but rather the fault of a system that wanted them dead. So now, as I sit and meditate on the 69 (23+23+23) tiles I installed in my backyard, atop the tiles my dad installed in the home we’ve lived for 14 years, yet don’t own, I wonder, was it all worth it? And if so, who is it that gets to decide?
I’m watching my parents die. Work their bodies until they no longer respond. And yet I’m told that if I do it all the right way, maybe, we will be granted protection, relief, from a country. Because that’s what it is. A country, a history, a working entrenched within the soil, that states if you do not look this way, or act this way, or talk this way, or feel this way, or come into this land this way, protection will be foreign, just like you. Through this they gave themselves the ability to claim savior, hope.
The hope they thought I needed.
And so I dug,
both physically and metaphorically, in order to define protection, hope, life, survival, labor, place, time, salvation, legality, alleviation, body, death, renewal, trauma, generations, language, wetness, sweat, rivers, land, tierra, home, alien, belonging, community, nostalgia, age, aging, healing, utopia, ownership, borders, power, bleeding, breathing, existing.
All on my own terms.
So I dug,
and I prayed,
and I dig, and I pray.
Angel de la guarda
Mi dulce compania
No me desampares
Ni de noche
Ni de dia
Porque sin ti
Hasta mañana is a prayer to my parents’ bodies,
to bodies crossing the border,
to bodies displaced,
to bodies that never made it,
to bodies dug up,
to bodies I feel and see.
hasta mañana, 2020, installation in my backyard, west phx
69, 12x12 inch tiles made of mi apa’s work clothes, tierra from douglas, az, our current home, homes we’ve lived (51st, 67th)
¾ x ¾ in tile spacers made of paraffin wax, scented with carrot infused oil and mesquite infused oil
2 unfired clay bowls filled with mesquite leaf infused agua bendita
4 rosaries, unfired clay, tile spacer as cross, thread dyed with tierra from douglas, az, our current home, homes we’ve lived
audio made of recordings done at douglas/agua prieta border, poems, theory, prayers told to me growing up, prayers i’ve told myself, songs, home videos sent through whatsapp