Jota

by Alondra Adame

Jota

Fear is waiting until you’re seventeen to come out. You and your best friend 

in a movie theater, choke on the taste of butter and tears.

 

But real fear, true gut-wrenching fear,

the kind of fear where your heart and stomach 

 

somehow become the same rotting organ in your chest,

is coming out to a Mexican mother.

 

Queer Chicano writer Michael Nava calls the closet 

“a form of personal oblivion”

 

But even the closet is better

than having your mother call you a jota,

your mother making you promise to never tell your father,

 

than hearing your father call for the deaths of gay men and women

and get so fucking red-faced with rage when they ruled gay marriage legal,
 

than knowing your little white town would not only make fun of you being brown 

but also for being pansexual, for dating boys but pining over girls 

who speak their minds with soft wisdom and smell like rose water.

 

So now you’re not just a beaner but you hear the word faggot in your ear

Like the whisper of a demon that’s made especially for you.

 

They say it gets better, sometimes it doesn’t.

I wanted this poem to be positive like one of those

 

nice little movies where the white kid comes out

and everyone is pretty much cool with it.

 

But it’s not and Michael Nava was wrong.

The definition of oblivion is a state marked 

 

By a lack of awareness or consciousness

or destruction.

 

And I am fully aware of my small, solid space

in the closet.

Alondra Adame is currently a graduate student at California State University, Chico. She was raised in the small rural town of Sutter, CA by two traditional Mexican immigrants. She spends most of her time writing about immigration, Chicanx culture, LGBTQ+ issues, events from her own life and mental health.

Alondra Adame

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