by féi hernandez
Blistering Feet, Under Blistering Sun
America is a gardener without a back
bone. Picked immigrants, planted them in
farms or white people homes or restaurants
or factories or buses or macdonal
where their brown hands
lifted the economy from depression.
Picking, growing, cleaning, scrubbing,
rotting, rearing, cooking for you! Yet you call us illegal!
When mami & I immigrated to this country
she taught me little things were big things—
the garage where concrete floor was bed was actually
a mansion of imagination where mami was also father
where Spanish was The Bible that erased all struggle &
the nine digit branding me citizen was non-existent.
I’ve always been oblivious to my blue skin or third eye,
the alien people saw in me,
until opportunities were blank like the social security
number I couldn’t fill in never turned in
like my vote in an election.
But before my rage lit a match & set a nation on fire mami said:
Paciencia, it’s the spirit’s way. Growing
up mami never let my bare feet touch ground.
She knew friend’s daughter’s of sisters,
brother’s friend’s daughter’s sister’s
that died with blistering feet, under a blistering
sun crossing the border. Mami taught me how to swim.
It was her way of erasing the bitter taste of dead bodies from water—
they call us immigrants wet backs because my people never
lifted from the pits of the Rio Grande.
Fabis speak up! talk louder, mijo!
She didn’t want my voice to recede to the sound of a whisper
or became silent like statistic in an elementary school textbook.
So she yelled at me & flung a finger to my face & said,
In your body one body all will stand!
& yes ma
& we ain’t
We ain’t going anywhere!
WE. AIN’T. GOING. ANYWHERE.
féi hernandez is a Mexican trans non-binary immigrant spiritual healer, writer, actor, visual artist and graphic designer. They grew up undocumented in Inglewood, California and has continued community work in Inglewood through their writing and art. féi’s writing has been featured in NPR, Immigrant Review, Non Binary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity, The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT, Good Mood, and Hayden’s Ferry Issue 64. Their art work has been exhibited at Galeria de La Raza, is featured in the Latino Book Review 2019, and is currently working on a digital collection of artwork. They are the Art Director of Palms Up Academy and Lorenzana Services Inc. and teach Crafting Eternity, a writing class for developing writers in Los Angeles. féi has a forthcoming full length poetry collection through Sundress Publications on the intersections of race, citizenship, identity, the hood, sexuality and gender to delineate themes of: belonging, invisibility, joy and resistance. They also have a novel in progress. For booking or more information follow féi hernandez on Instagram: @fei.hernandez or feihernandez.com.