Literary Yard

Search for meaning

'Seesaw' and 'The Life I Deserve' poems

By: Alexis Zarco


The rustic seesaw
of sun bleached
blues & reds
sat trapped in its

Green wildgrass
& yellow wheat
grow in between
the wooden seats.

Childish giggles
& small footsteps
echoing in the empty space
mocking the young’uns
who are all but grown.


The Life I Deserve

Those hands created my world.
Those now fragile hands crafted the twenty year old
Rocking chair that she was sitting on.
Those worn hands painted it when it rusted, and
Those fadings hands engraved flowers on their arms
When they snapped off like twigs and then
Glued them back onto its worn body.
My abuelita was good with her hands.

Her hands did the talking, they thought independently.
The freedom of those hands had been stolen from her when she was only fourteen.
Those hands had been kidnapped and forced to marry her kidnapper.
Those youthful hands had been forced to do the unspeakable,
For so many years, and before she knew it,
She gave birth to two children
And lost the other three.

Those laboring hands worked three jobs to keep her children alive
While her capturer drowned his sorrows in alcohol and
Slept with other young girls–
Making their hands do more unspeakable things.

Those weary, tired hands were stronger than I could ever be.

Those hands had the courage to steal a car with her two children
Sitting in the backseat, so that they could be free of torment.
Those hands fixed the paperwork to come to the United States and
Those hands picked grapes in the fields of Southern California
Under the heat of the blazing summer sun for hours on end.
Those studious hands had the courage to start all over again

In a new country that did not want her here.
In a new country where no one knew a lick of her ‘foreign’ tongue.
In a new country where she was hoping to find a new beginning.

And she succeeded.

As a child, I would sit in my abuelita’s lap while she would tell me stories.
My abuelita often told me while pointing to the sky that,

“Destiny is for cowards.
Every person can create the life that they feel that they deserve.”

All I could do was hope that
My hands could create the life I deserve, just like her hands did.

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