When you leave you must remember to come back for the others. A circle, understand? You will always be Esperanza. You will always be Mango Street. You can’t erase what you know. You can’t forget who you are.
-Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street
It means mi hija.
It means my daughter.
It means I am older than you and I care about you.
It does not mean my daughter.
The most affectionate melding of words,
It comes in M’ija, don’t you miss home?
and M’ija, do you want a quesadilla?
and M’ija, do you at least get to visit your brother in New York?
It comes wrapped in confused eyes, warm hugs, shredded green chile.
M’ija, M’ijo, you both went so far from home.
The giant blotch of Texas to the advanced jigsaw puzzle of the Northeast.
M’ija, m’ija, but never my parents who ask.
They know why, but it took me so long to realize it’s in my blood.
Mi pa, my father, leaving California for Southern Mexico,
Mi ma, my mother, leaving Southern Mexico for for the U.S.A.
Mi hermano, my brother, leaving Texas for New York.
Here I am in Boston, and did anyone expect anything else?
It’s in my blood, the movement, the leaving, the
But we never left, we left, we are still where we belong,
We are on the tip of every m’ija and m’ijo on the tip of every worried
We never left, we’re never leaving, we’re right where we belong.