Two Poems by Alejandro Pérez

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

United States Blues

Every day
my Latino father
makes sure to smile
at American people
and say “Good morning” 
to them
in perfect English, 
as to prove
he’s not dangerous
or uneducated.
Every day
my American mother
makes sure to smile
at Latino people
and say “Buenos días” 
to them
in perfect Spanish, 
as to prove
she is kind
and not racist. 
It’s not easy
being Latino here. 
It’s not easy
being American
here either.



Hay personas que después
de una tormenta, 
se siguen cubriendo con paraguas
simplemente por miedo
a mojarse.Nuestra libertad no está siendo restringida. 
Le tenemos miedo a la libertad.


Umbrellas (English translation)

There are people who, 
after a storm,
continue to cover themselves
with umbrellas,
simply for fear of getting wet.

Our freedom is not being restricted.
We are afraid of freedom.

Photo of Alejandro Pérez

Photo of Alejandro Pérez

Alejandro Pérez is a student at Columbia University in New York. His poems have appeared in Star 82 Review, Gravel, Right Hand Pointing, SOMOS Latinx Literary Magazine, Letralia Tierra de Letras and elsewhere. His chapbook Maybe the Trumpet is Human was chosen as a winner of the Boston Uncommon Chapbook Series. Being half American and half Guatemalan, he is caught between two cultures, just as he is caught between his desire to live in the real world and in the world of his imagination.