Poem: A Letter to Eleven Year Old Me

To my 2006 doppelgänger with round glasses

And big hair that didn’t get the concept of scrunching with conditioner yet,

This is for you.

When black and white kids try to throw Frisbees

That force your colors in the air to be compromised,

Grab them back, don’t blot them out.

Mixed girls can be articulate.

Mixed girls can be lively.

You are not obligated to say “no homo”

For admiring another girl’s beauty.

Wearing big sweaters do not swallow your

Attraction to boys whole,

They just swallow your tiny upper body

And it’s beautiful.

You think it isn’t, but, believe me,

It is.

Your beliefs are beautiful.

There is no need to assimilate your psyche

For the sake of attention, for the sake of being

Stirred into warm, blended soup that will leave you

Chilly in due time.

That doesn’t give you permission to make another assimilate to you.

That girl’s hijab is not choking her,

That boy not believing in God doesn’t make him

Not believe in the good in this world.

You’re not going to know this right now,

But that same boy is going to come out as gay

Six years later.

Not “homo.” Gay.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

You’ll get better in how to be a good friend to him.

I want you to learn now,

But you can’t know the answers to everything,


That doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to ask


Your grandma’s church may test you,

But just because you stop believing in bubble sheets,

It doesn’t mean you stop believing in God.

He’s gonna bring you out of a lot of deep

Sh**, trust me.

Oh yeah, you’ll start saying that word more.

More swears will coat your tongue long enough for

The taste to turn from sour to sweet,

From sin to purity.

You learn that there is purity in it,

Because of the honesty in it.

I’m writing this to you for the sake of honesty.

Your parents aren’t getting back together.

Santa isn’t real; you’re really stupid to believe your mom for so long.

Dark thoughts don’t always go away.

Going to counselors don’t make anything wrong with you,

They help make things right with you.

It’s okay to think about sex, even when you don’t

Want to have it yet.

In the future, you still don’t want to have it yet,

You’ll start wearing a ring that makes that clear.

Writing will be one of the only things that will

Bring you sanity,

Safely ripping the safe jacket off of your desires and

Pursuits to help you grow.

I know you’ve only written to me in a few diary entries

In future tense,

And I know my letter won’t get to you in time in the past,

But know that despite the monotonous, commercialized

Voices who will say you’ll be fine, hoping that

You’ll “choose” happiness when you can’t,

You will turn out fine.

I’m sorry for the tardiness, but you’ll agree with

Everything I have said.

I love you.


Maya 2015.


Poem: Girl at Mirror

Young lady picks up two different
Essence and Cosmopolitan.
Young lady knows that these covers
Are not mirrors,
But young lady wishes they are.

Young lady wishes she could choose one.

But her skin is too light for
Lupita’s chocolate.
But her skin is too dark for
Emma’s vanilla.
According to her friends,
Hardly anyone finds caramel tasty.

Young lady wishes she could choose one.

She stands in front of her mirror
As Lupita and Emma’s smile
Gleam at her with red lips,
White teeth,
And skin as glossy as
The smooth pages they live in.

Young lady wishes she could choose one.

She hid mommy’s red lipstick
In her bathroom drawer
To try on herself…
Has mommy ever felt this way?
Mommy is just as caramel as young lady.
Does Mommy have the same wish?

Young lady wishes she could choose one.