Becoming Americana with a Stolen Line
by Yousi Mazpule
Amewrikan. Amarikon. Amerikain.
Licking the roof of my mouth only works in Spanish.
Beetche. Beech. Beeach.
I practice twice daily in front of a mirror to not have an accent.
Spik. Speek. Spec.
If you sound like a spic, you’ll never get a job,
my cousin warns me at thirteen
when employment is last on my mind.
Chiz. Sheeze. Sheessi.
A new language, a new country
new friends to make,
another urbanity to understand.
Sheens. Gines. Jeenz.
A language that isn’t spoken as it is read
a culture that wears vaqueros everywhere
people who speak too fast with a heavy German tertiary stress.
Modder. Mather. Mam.
Admits she has no interest when I try to teach her English.
Ruts. Roos. Reuts
I need to preserve, she says, without ‘losing my Espanish’.
© 2007 prickofthespindle.com
Yousi Mazpule is a professor of business communication skills at FIU. She has been published in local magazines including Genration N and Coral Gables Living. She is finishing an MFA in Creative Writing at FIU and lives in Miami with her husband and son.