Juan Morales

Issue #
January 31, 2017

To Dream in Spanish

Practice as an adult with phone calls
to mama y papa. Volunteer to teach
ICE detainees in the jail every Tuesday.
You finally take trips
to the motherland and the fatherland
as a tourist ironically surrounded
by family. Describe your life
back in America with sentences
as simple as charades laced
with off target syntax and cognates.

Give yourself credit when people ask
if you speak it. Don’t worry about
your white boy accent. Say yes
instead of the long answer
about not being raised on Spanish
and how you heard
your parents talking it like secrets.

It’s okay to fry your brain
code switching each day in a country
that is not yours.
You won’t catch every phrase. Let go.
Fall into the dreams, en sueño,
heavy as rivers overflowing
with accents and tildes,
when you forget you don’t speak Spanish
only for the night.

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