“Bárbarazo… ¿tú no te piensas afeitar?”
I heard him say to you
y yo respondí,

“Mi hermano, no le hagas caso
y ojalá…”
Ojalá when you’re grooming
that dark oak rugged beard,
as the Moroccan argan oil
tames the frizz of your roots,
ojalá you notice the resemblance between you
and our Arabic brotherhood…
your moro-eating self may not recognize
what is in plain view
the Moros y Cristianos that are mixed
in your blood’s truth
though over a millennium ago
the conquest is still seen
in your hair as its growth
clings to your face
marking you different than most
a beard strategically shaven
to carve out your mouth
or shaped so that it is sprouting towards your cheeks
leading me to see
the nuez moscada colored windows of your soul
it is the part of our ancestry
that is hidden by some females
bleaching and yellowing their hair
as if blonde is what our European roots produced
it is the part of our Spanish heritage we don’t declare
it is the part of our identity
that as Dominicans we cannot hide behind our ears
it is a part of our culture spoken in our soul when we hear:
ojalá, ojalá, oh Allah…
it is on our face, our eyes
and our ways of saying ‘God, I wish’
so go ahead let this beard
remind your friend
que Dios te dio barba porque tienes quija’…
ojalá,
ojalá,
ojalá que en este país,
con todo el terrorismo
que está pasando que no te juzguen
por ser auténticamente tú,
dominicano y nada más.

Copyright © 2015 Sydney Valerio.
Connect with Sydney via INSTAGRAM

Sydney Valerio, is a Latina from the Bronx of Dominican heritage, enjoys writing about the socio-cultural aspects of life that shape our perspective. She is an educator by trade and a New Yorker by birthright. Her poetry writing journey began as part of the Sunday Writing Circle, a workshop that is part of the Full Circle Ensemble. She hopes one day to publish her collection of writings so that they can be catalogued in the library located in her childhood neighborhood of Kingsbridge Road and University Avenue in the Bronx, N.Y.

 

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