Borderland Love, or A Letter to my Ancestors (AFTER GLORIA ANZALDÚA)

Misako Yamazaki

I am a woman trapped between worlds,
Persephone: eternally bound to two separate homes.
I am the bridge between your differences, called
half-and-half, called brown, yellow, ripe-banana skin.
My pomegranate seed teeth and sour lips make
my words sting like acid rain, bittersweet toothache.
I’ve fought white devils and escaped
with a heart torn in two and scraped knees, so
please, dears, be gentle with me.

I don’t know who I am when I am split in half.

I say this as a warning, a beckoning, a gift of opening
myself to you like a flower blooming.
I would cross the River Styx if you asked me.
I don’t know how to swim, but
if you told me where I belong,
for you I’d learn how to.

Epics of old were right:
there is no long-lasting light at war’s end.
There is always another battle waiting,
more desert and rock to dig through.
But there will come soft rains again sometime,
and I will be there,
stranded by a borderland love,
waiting for a sign
from either side.

Phoenix born and raised, Misako Yamazaki, 25, is a connoisseur of all things literary and philosophical. She is majoring in Philosophy, Religion & Society with a minor in English at Arizona State University, Class of 2022. Her poetry has been featured in Honey & Lime Lit’s online literary blog, Oceans & Time, the anthology Satan Speaks! from Forty-Two Books, and ASU’s Canyon Voices. Also, a spoken word poet, Misako has performed at and hosted various poetry events around the Phoenix valley pre-pandemic. When not impaired by the chronic pain of endometriosis, she spends her free time reading, writing, and journaling.