Lions in the classroom

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Photo: Esparta Palma, flickr

Photo: Esparta Palma, flickr

By: Erika Gisela Abad Merced

In a building too small to hold our dreams we
threatened each other’s lives
for taking what we thought was ours
shoes, toys. In
between winning, losing, sharing, we
schemed, we napped, we laughed.
we lulled each others’ scars of messy, tainted
misunderstood as unique alone,
rebellious together against education we didn’t look like
policies that pushed us into
too much trouble…too much
cheating repeated lines of times tables
under pressure, never lying
never dissing our 6th grade teacher
for everything else we’d done
for everything else done to us

Flakes that wither to make a difference
in consulates, not for profits and classrooms;
lazy enough to take up arms, raise
sons…daughters…be kicked down
run out to start…again…start scratch
till scratch becomes sacred, beautifies
trauma; pretty boy songsters,
writers too strong to put down the pen…

coast to coast, connected to memories
beyond childhood chaos
bound in love of kindred buried too young
returning reminds, amidst, laughter, confessions
and wine, bruises still show, scars still sting,
but in loss,
despite nomadic tendencies
what we’ve given each other,
reinforces what can’t keep us down.


Erika Gisela Abad Merced, Ph.D, a Queer Boricua-Dominicana born and raised in Chicago. Her poetry has been featured in outlets such as Mujeres de Maiz, Skin2Skin, and Depaul University’s Dialogo.

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The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by La Respuesta magazine. We encourage dialogue, debate, and learning in order to forge stronger, healthier Boricua communities and to strengthen alliances across social difference.