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No, I wasn't always this ugly

                                                      after Roque Dalton

Or maybe I'm just figuring it out like I'm figuring out

other things, like to check the mail or that my mom

and dad do sex stuff or that my students are married

or have children or that either way we don't really

have a choice when it comes to elections—

and what is choice really other than recognizing limits

and breathing in their presence? I ask myself these questions

nowadays and try to solve them in poetry or with poetry

because, again—I'm limited and breathing

so no, I wasn't always this ugly—it was & was not

a choice because I am limited to this body & its needs—

the air & other matter to keep being a spirit bag

& no I never said yes, I'll take that face or knew

it was my face really until right now—

I guess I never really think about it

other than when I watch Face Off with Nicolas Cage

& John Travolta —they take the skin right off

cover each others' bones with their choices

—all the cops wear black and I wonder what effect that has

on our reception of them & I know the connotations

of black are unfounded & constructed but still I wonder

if they had to wear orange or stripes or stars or

an American flag over their bodies if they would still

choose it or if it would change completely

or if they would say no, I wasn't always this ugly

it's just the world on my body

Sara Borjas is a 4th generation Mexican-American, a Fresno poet, a bartender, and a lecturer. She digs space, time, memory, aromatics, modern classic cocktails, tiny prints, and oldiez. She currently lectures in the Department of Creative Writing at UC Riverside and lives in Los Angeles and likes it there. Her work has been previously published in Luna Luna, The Boiler, The McNeese Review, Verdad, Yes, Poetry, and Other Poetry, amongst others.

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