A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

“Dear Spanish,” by Mateo Acuña

Hello old friend. Have you stopped hiding from me? Have you stopped pretending that you’re listening just around the corner, is that why you touch me with silence? Or is it because two worlds are tearing me apart and I don’t have enough native blood in my mouth to bring you as sacrifice?

You of all people know best that everything in life is a transaction. If I gave you what I know of Quechua, would you give me the same words in Spanish? All I ask is that you make me complete, that you be the missing piece, that you be cement to fill the potholes of memories in which I felt outside of something that was supposed to be part of me.

I don’t want to see you as my father anymore. He was never the key to the mentality of an entire language, of an entire country. Do you know what it feels like to love a country that doesn’t love you back? In a way, you and I are the same. We both want to live in places where we don’t belong. But the difference is that even though I try to be your friend, you are the reason why I will always be an exile from my second home.

Spanish, the truth is that I am writing to you because I am in love with you like a festering wound that asks for a scab. I know that I am suffering because of you, that I may never return to Peru because of you, but my skin will always be the color of my desire for you. I long to explore every curve and crevice of your body, savor the sweat of your labor, the tears of my tanned-skinned ancestors, marvel at your cathedral of mottled architecture and see myself in the reflection of its stained glass windows. Maybe then my expression will be so fractured by rainbows that it will start to look happy.



This poem was written by Mateo Acuña, as a 2023-24 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. Performed at the Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Literary Arts Series event with Joy Harjo on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, at Town Hall. 

Posted in Literary Arts SeriesStudent WritingWriters in the SchoolsYouth Poet LaureateYouth Programs2023/24 Season