10-Year Anniversary Poem

in honor of the 10th anniversary of Texas A&M University-San Antonio for Cecilia Macias McCardle & Sabrina San Miguel

This is what I want to tell you:
This is yours—the air and all who breathe it.
We belong to each other, you see.

You need not carry the stones in your heart
any farther. Here, there is no paper, no
number, no fight you need to produce

so that someone else will make space
for you. It’s the history in your hands
that build, brick by brick, the rooms

into which you walk. We will mark the days
as they come: a job lost, another child
gone, lines—to vote, to eat, to pay our debts—

conferring, as it were, temperance noted
in books our people could not read. Look here,
this is what I want to say: you are not here

to receive your education, but to build upon
the lessons distilled through generations,
to give your own inherent knowing

in return—in the name of something far greater.
In the spirit of yours and mine whose bodies
hold up the soles of our feet and whose knowing

tames the quivers in our throats. Here is the lot,
cleared, and in its place, the documented
evolution of our work on this land: our breath

in contracts with the earth and with each other.
You are the bloom that holds the root, making
magic between the soil and the sun.

Laurie Ann Guerrero