the joshua tree gave me its blessing By Mia T. Hamernik

the joshua tree gave me its blessing

birthed me from          desert death and 
snake rattle 
swaddled in strange silhouette
i buried the first of my 

bound together by       sticky caramel spread
from               south america
abandoned by              father’s tongue
i come from                 dried fig and dragon myth
from the era of                       superheroes 
and                  revolutionaries
in bedtime stories and childhood texts
the words that grant us adult strength
raised me to expect more     from       the world

i did not become a person until i was fourteen
when Mouth realized its mobility and 
was quick to defend Self and Stigma


from childhood revolutionary texts                                        inspiration from magic and mythos
to deliver verdict         to villain                                              strength from starship explorers

at eighteen i exchanged arid   desert and
mediterranean coast for
humid dusk                             and cicada song
abandoned mother’s tongue                for mother’s land
encountered                                        mother’s identity and
claimed it as my own
forged mother and father tongue        into skeleton key
to construct my own bridges and holy texts

i mistook my first snowfall as wildfire ash
confused the numbness of my nose as
smokescreen instead of burning winter intent
so i rewrote the list of things 
i knew
to say
you are still being made.

By Mia T. Hamernik


Mia T. Hamernik is a California native pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Washington University in St. Louis. She likes to remind people she’s Latina by bemoaning the severe limitation of Mexican restaurants in St. Louis and listening to Bad Bunny on full blast at every opportunity. She has not suffered a foosball defeat in six years.

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