Miles Away

Art and Poem by Jazmin Diaz

A poem about being away from home as a first-generation student

Hundreds of miles away
My mother tells me about her day.  
Her accent is thick yet sweet
Like honey.
She asks me how I’ve been.
I recount the frustration,
The struggle,
And the pain.
Her voice breaks through the phone
“Echale ganas, mija.”
Then I recall the story of two teenagers
Thousands of miles away
Leaving home
At the tender age of sixteen
Uncertain if their mother’s farewell embrace would be their final
If their familiar stroll through the dirt roads of el barrio would be their last
If their feet would ever reunite with the soil of their motherland.
And I remember why I’m here.

[Translation: “Echale ganas”- a phrase widely used in Mexico meaning to put in maximum effort or give it your all]
[Translation: “el barrio”- the neighborhood]