By Angela Acosta
Like a plant, I seek to be rooted,
watered and nurtured in optimal soil,
looking skyward in comfortable seventy-degree weather,
I imagine a tulip bulb burrowing into its own possibility.
Finding a place for all of me is a tough task,
so I settle for parts, points of connections,
looking for other Latinas, other multiethnic poets,
the ones who forge their own paths with joy and authenticity.
Never truly a native, I speak the languages of my heritage
as I step into the prickly heat of the succulent room,
standing still like a cactus and quickly losing my patience
as I try to blend my accent into places meant to feel familiar but never will.
The palm house holds a soft place in my heart,
a reminder of the Florida humidity that nourished my childhood,
hydrated me as I hiked along the swamps of Central Florida,
but the alligators never were my calling.
Up north, up where everything tastes of maple,
I tried speaking up, dressing classier, and wearing scarves,
but it was all just a façade, an attempt at camouflage
that I exchanged for Latina conferences, Portuguese classes, and horchata.
After college, I returned to Columbus,
back to Ohio and its calm culture,
the way the Midwest lets me be myself in a biome meant for most,
but sometimes I need sunnier skies and warmer winters.
Here, wherever here is in this settler nation,
I seek comfort in combining my favorite places,
fusing cultures and languages while I speak my “Univision Spanish”
and appreciate the local flora and fauna.
When I stand outside among oak trees near Madrid, Spain,
I’m tempted to root myself there and a warm sense of ease
tells me this could where I most belong, most thrive
with my poetic companions from days gone by.
I’m too rhizomatic for a single place,
too much like a mushroom sprouting across multiple forests
who creates a web out of every lifeform that I touch,
I am what nourishes everything else.
The rhizome that is me floats around,
scatters and splits her words, her dreams, and her being,
she wants the hominess of libraries and the adventure of rock walls,
the indescribable sense of place you feel that is just so liminal.