Legal Alien Pat Mora

Bi-lingual, Bi-cultural,

able to slip from “How’s life?”

to “Me’stan volviendo loca,”

able to sit in a paneled office

drafting memos in smooth English,

able to order in fluent Spanish

at a Mexican restaurant,

American but hyphenated,

viewed by Anglos as perhaps exotic,

perhaps inferior, definitely different,

viewed by Mexicans as alien,

(their eyes say, “You may speak

Spanish but you’re not like me”)

an American to Mexicans

a Mexican to Americans

a handy token

sliding back and forth

between the fringes of both worlds

by smiling

by masking the discomfort

of being pre-judged

Bi-laterally.

From Chants by Pat Mora, Arte Publico Press

© 1985 Pat Mora, republished with permission of Arte Publico Press

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