beaded trout

How to explain

How to explain
to my kids

     1Pine Ridge
     Santa Ana *

They who are still learning

     take turns
     work it out
     be kind
     make a better choice

Do I teach them
     white supremacy
     toxic masculinity

When all I want for them is love?

I want them to know

the dead each
had names
family and friends and pets
they loved and were loved
they dreamt and toiled
they lived and live on

     more than
          in spite of

those bullets
that hatred
those words

* See the 1899 Philippine-American war photo of "the insurgent dead, just as they fell in the trench near Santa Ana," My son asked me about this image when he was about 8, and I told him it was emblematic of my family's history as a colonized people.

Melinda Luisa de Jesús

contents of issue 10

How to explain
Melinda Luisa de Jesús

The Great Flood
Tommy Parrie

Michelle Pichon

The River Flowing Down Deep Inside Me
Lorraine Cathey

Ella Callow

Rain Prud'homme_Cranford Gomez

Melinda Luisa de Jesús Biography

Melinda Luisa de Jesús is Chair and Associate Professor of Diversity Studies at California College of the Arts. She writes and teaches about Asian American cultural production, Filipina/o American culture, girl culture, monsters, and race/ethnicity in the United States. She is a mezzo-soprano, a mom, an Aquarian, and admits an obsession with Hello Kitty.

Permission to publish poems in this one context was granted by the authors, who unless otherwise specified, hold copyright on these works.