To Be a Mexican by Hugo Esteban Rodriguez Castañeda

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


is being in the bullfight — silver and black, red death
festive on Sundays when the curfews are lifted
but fear prevails

To be a Mexican is to long for the safety
of exile in anonymity and a golden cage
to search for comfort and security
finding it so far from God

To be a Mexican is to be a martyr
who martyrs himself and reveres martyrs
and studies a history of martyrs of victims
written in blood-stained free-trade ink
To be a Mexican is to be unwanted
and forgotten, persona non grata
celebrated on November second
with all the holy dead

To be a Mexican is to be the huizache, hard to kill


Photo of Hugo Esteban Rodriguez Castañeda

Photo of Hugo Esteban Rodriguez Castañeda

Hugo Esteban Rodriguez Castañeda, Librotraficante Simbolo, is a Mexican-born, Valley-raised graduate of the University of Texas at Brownsville who currently works as an interpreter in Houston. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso, and his work has previously been published in the 2014 Texas Poetry Calendar.