I am a descendant of the Mexica,
of people who built the pyramids of the Sun,
the Temple of Quetzalcoatl,
the Plumed Serpent in Teotihuacan.
Built with ingenuity, their hands
chiseling uneven stones,
creating mixtures of lime plaster,
carving elaborate designs on rock,
with resources given to them by Tlaltecuhtli,
who was torn to pieces,
creating the stars, the moon
and this abundant earth we inhabit.
My ancestors dealt with a false prophet.
Cortés arrived in shimmering armor,
a likeness they had never seen,
he was trusted, they were betrayed.
Their traditions, beliefs posed a threat.
Codices were burned by priests.
Moctezuma was killed, they were defeated,
forced to adapt.
But here we are, still.
From the Mictlan,
where they rest from this world,
they scoff at your puny wall,
the one you’ll build, using cheap
We’ve seen better plans,
worked under harsher conditions,
have suffered the rule
of the usurper dressed as savior.
My forefathers sacrificed human hearts
every night to Huitzilopochtli
in hopes that they He, -The Sun-
would rise again,
that he would favor them in times of war.
I, too, want the sun to rise.
I, too, want to win this battle.
And we will (with civility.)
However, I can’t help
but imagine myself
600 years in the past:
on top of a temple in Tenochtitlan,
the silhouette of my Quetzal feathered headdress
gleaming in the moonlight,
long brown hair tousling in the warm wind.
And an obsidian spade
in one hand
and in the other ̶
your beating heart
clenched in my fist,
By Suzan Ramírez
Suzan Ramírez is a first generation Mexican-American and is employed full time as a paralegal at a firm that litigates Social Security Disability appellate work. She is currently a part time student at Cerritos College pursuing a Bachelor’s in English. Suzan, lives in Norwalk, California with her four children, Victoria, Jazmin, Saul, and Santiago.