by Eloisa Amezcua

Eloisa Amezcua’s Mexicamericana becomes both a demarcation and blurring of the line between states, identities, culture, and selves. This meeting-place is investigated in mother/daughter, English/Spanish, citizen/citizen—how these things are seen from outside as separate, but are quite entangled—how a  woman finds her way walking with both, whatever the two may be, “furious and alive.” The river does not separate places—it touches both and nourishes both. This collection borrows its epigraph from Alberto Ríos: “The border is a line that birds cannot see.” (Porkbelly Press, 2017)

36 pages
inkjet cover
open edition

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I try to explain the difference         between pant & pants
why the former isn’t simply    one pair

but what the lungs do                  with fear or excitement
why clothe isn’t      a singular noun

but what most do to the body             each morning
she calls on a Wednesday       needs help

with an assignment for her third English
beginners course where she meets         twice a week

her classmates from countries               with names beautiful as hers
I try to make the language          clear to my mother

as she one day        —before my English took hold—
explained to me that               I did not in fact make friends

with a girl named Sorry:

but we were on the playground and she hit me, fue accidenté,
y me dijo “I’m sorry” & when someone says I am, yo soy—

that’s not how this works I remind her

when she asks         if the plural of dust is dusts
she asks me to conjugate               love

I love you       love he loves          she loved
we loved you          have loved            I am loving

she wants to know how   a word can be both
a thing and an action           like war & mistake

although I can’t       put into words in Spanish             
how I know the difference             so I tell her I have to go       

and I go & she goes        & I haven’t taught her
anything   & for that I am sorry              to no one but myself



Eloisa Amezcua is an Arizona native. She is the author of the chapbooks On Not Screaming (Horse Less Press) and Symptoms of Teething, winner of the 2016 Vella Chapbook Prize from Paper Nautilus Press. Eloisa is the founder/editor of The Shallow Ends: A Journal of Poetry. You can find her at



Sharmon Davidson's "The Traveler's Tale: As the Crow Flies" is mixed media on paper, originally 24x30 inches. See more of her work at her website



“Watching Underworld, Inc Episode 3: Human Cargo” nominated for a Pushcart (2018).
“Watching Underworld, Inc. Episode 3: Human Cargo" was selected for Best New Poets 2017.
Featured on The Wardrobe via Sundress Publications & guest curator Colleen Abel, June 2018.