The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Now in Color by Jacqueline Balderrama

This selection, chosen by guest curator Sarah Clark, is from Now in Color by Jacqueline Balderrama, released by Perugia Press in 2021. 

Fragmented Apology, 2006

— after California Senate Bill 670, enacting the “Apology Act
     for the 1930s Mexican Repatriation Program”

When the knocking comes / county agents are on the porch
telling “Mexicans” / You should go in two weeks
Here are the tickets
/ Here’s your destination

In raids / hundreds at La Placita Park / detained
for papers / vans idling in the peripheries
while their children at school / wait

And threats / for some families / are real enough
to leave / How can this be called / voluntary
As a heartbreak / As a life packed and thrown across the hills

Who knew and said nothing / and still
says nothing / Who went turning off the house lights
because no one was / home

Imagine the people in the train car / the girl whispering
the moon is following her
to the make-believe town / become real / become

vacant looks on her parents’ eyes / In reflection
a little oasis of nothing / and you / lucky to know
someone / or not / Some can speak the language

or can’t / One woman must paint her belonging
until there’s a bridge / and in the distance
a steeple

Jacqueline Balderrama is the author of Now in Color (Perugia Press, 2020) and the chapbook Nectar and Small (Finishing Line Press, 2019). She serves as a poetry editor for Iron City Magazine and has been involved in the Letras Latinas literary initiative, the ASU Prison Education Program, and the Wasatch Writers in the Schools. Currently, she’s a Virginia G. Piper Fellow-in-Residence and Clinical Assistant Professor at Arizona State University for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Sarah Clark is a disabled non-binary Native (Nanticoke) editor, writer, and cultural consultant. They are Editor-in-Chief of beestung, Editor-in-Chief at ANMLY, Co-Editor at Bettering American Poetry, a Co-Editor of The Queer Movement Anthology, and a member of Sundress Press’s Board of Directors.


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