Christian Loyo

A summer in Minnesota.
My furrowed forehead lines glinted in the sun,
a jagged hairline rebelliously keeping drops of sweat from falling into my lap, and knees squatting so close to the playground cement.
And my hands cradled
a red plastic microscope.

A red telescope-for-tiny-things, it was a gift from my mom,
she ordered it from a school catalog
for me.
A splash of color, it stood out against my worn graphic t-shirt and
my eyebrows furrowed again — the sun’s light reflected from the small mirror
inside, illustrating beings
       speaking to me from plastic slides like
       large lungs from a cat and a small liver from a pig.
       Living, gifting me snapshots of their insides.
Squinting…what is this world smaller than my own?

A winter in Minnesota.
The heat inside the school building greeted my family like a saludo,
a warm and accepting embrace.
But then I felt their eyes.
Their eyes. I noticed, around us, frozen stares nit-picking,
white heads furrowing, as if to hide their lasers boring holes into our souls,
poking mercilessly at our cells.
       Was my softly browned skin marking me for inspection?
       Did it become the plastic slide that contained me — that they’d hold up
       against the sky to see if my lungs and my liver were the same as theirs?
A green check box of approval — yes, hmhm, you’re good.
You are not like them.

An autumn in Minnesota.
Click, blink. Click, click blink.
I stare tiredly at black scratches on the laptop screen,
frowning at the little red squiggly line marking my last name as wrong, like
Click, click, cliiick send and that’s it —
That’s one more pair of eyes on me, hopefully.
What if they don’t read it?
What if they walk past my orange petals stretching relentlessly towards the sun,
       growing fiercely
       yelling loudly amidst louder arboretum colors and
       swirls of distracting, perfect autumn leaves?
       Would they stop and grant me one second under their microscope —
       and appreciate details ingrained into my stubborn stem
       beautiful thorns lining the edges of my leaves like stationery,
       telling stories of little steps.
       Give me one second.
       Let the sun shine through me, for one second —
my inbox startles me.
“Yes! Let’s meet.”
I rest against the chair behind me, and close my eyes.

Luisa Fernanda Apolaya Torres