Trapped monarchs die inside
Before they become dust
It is cruel to see a monarch in
A cage, winged flesh ripped
In the name of nationalism
In keeping the wings white
What a cruel vision
To see fluttering dreams
Have you ever held a child’s
Told them, no
So sternly?
Stripping them of humanity?

They, drowning
in ectoplasmic dreams.
Forging new languages with
Their ancestors,
The new Tower of Babel
built on tweets &
brown children’s backs,
Neither from here nor from there
just to tell,
toddlers, to
“Go back to Mexico.”

I remember being locked
Up, in my early 20s
I stared out the wall,
Because i couldn’t weep
The loss of time, of sunshine, so
I slept. & made friends
With moths. The space between
The underworld, thinning.

Above all,
What comes
After spiritual

✶ ✶ ✶ ✶

Melissa Castro Almandina is a Xicana poet and artist from the Southwest Side of Chicago. She is a member of Brown and Proud Press, a zine collective that serves as a platform for healing in POC communities and is a resident artist at AMFM Gallery. She facilitates poetry workshops on the Southwest Side of Chicago and debuted her hand bound zine of poetry entitled, Rose Quartz and Serpentine. She was a featured author at Pilsen Fest and is published in the Garland Court Review, Cuentos de Gringolandia, and Hooligan Magazine.

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