Daughter of America


Lucia Zettler, Website Editor

I am a daughter of America. I speak in broken Spanish, with jumbled conjugations and butchered words that make my mother scowl. When I visit my grandfather’s homeland, where his family worked on a sugarcane plantation, I relish the sweet foods of the island that I will never remember the names of. At food stands, I keep toward the back, begging my mother to order for me.

I am a daughter of America. I frown at the poverty around Puerto Rico, offering my pity as we pass a house with a sunken tarp flung over it, serving as a pathetic makeshift roof before returning my gaze to the pale blue glow of my cell. 

I am a daughter of America. I gasp and point as we pass abandoned buildings. Somewhere, my grandfather’s old house is one of them. The wood will eventually decay and rot as the island swallows the home, but the concrete base will stick around, its paint gradually becoming soiled by graffiti and vines. 

I am a daughter of America. I mourn the loss of my mother’s culture, something passed down from generation to generation, so easily cut off at me. When she was young she spent her summers in Puerto Rico, exploring the island with her cousins and chewing sugarcane that her grandfather sliced for them. Her chocolate eyes light up as she tells me stories of his sweetness and the things he would sacrifice for family. 

I am a daughter of America. It’s difficult for me to grasp the raw beauty of Puerto Rico’s culture, sprinkled with lovely little things that I long to enjoy as if they were my own. I know that, as I grow older, I’ll leave Puerto Rico behind, too consumed with school and work to return regularly, and all those lovely little things will slip through my fingers as if they were grains of sand, leaving only a faint trail of lost memories behind.