You are a joy to be around. I don’t want you to as I am. As I am is the tradition of not making yourself in front of others. Or it is the tradition of making yourself only in front of others. English is victimizing so many of our aims. Our aims are only as strong as the doors they can penetrate. I hear, from you, father and mother do not see a victim who takes many examinations for class distinctions that are solid lines not bending like the radicals of your name. You hear, from me, your dream is like the afternoon rest that is not a tradition where I come from, like the values that lead you away from your parents’ class to English. So here is class time to write on very thin paper, spelling your name without radicals tightly pulled like a hood on my head during our winter classes. I notice you never wear one. To me, it seems, you have learned to accept the cold.
Luis Humberto Valadez is the author of what i’m on (2009, University of Arizona Press) and Valid Lush (2012, Plumberries Press). Hailing from Chicago Heights, IL, Valadez worked as a teacher and in social services in Chicago before becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer posted in the People’s Republic of China from 2012-2014, an experience his more recent work draws from. More of his work can be found at luishv.bandcamp.com.