ABOLENGO

ABOLENGO

From Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul

Abolengo

Remember, my son,
when you perceive
the disdain of others . . .
that you are a descendant
of the valiant Conquistador
who carried the Holy Cross
of our Redeemer
across the oceans.
Who with faith in the Lord
and in the name of his Monarch,
ordered his ship burned,
so as not to look back,
and shape your destiny
in a mythical New World.

Son, keep well in mind,
that you bear the regent blood
of the Chieftain and his island bride,
gentle, yet gigantic spirits,
patient, generous beings,
who suffered disillusionment,
disease and hard work
—endless and without pity—
to bequeath to you an opulent land.

Don’t forget, my treasure,
that through your veins
runs the sweat
of the mighty slave,
his sculptural black body
forged in sun and splendor . . .
A man who, with pride,
even enchained,
raised callused hands
in fisted, existential cry
and challenged
his cruel destiny . . .
final and essential element
of your rich ancestry.

Don’t bemoan your fate, Son
—don’t throw it to the void!—
when your grandfathers
—so many times great—
suffered dearly in your place
to leave you an inheritance beyond price,
garnered century by century
with pain, sacrifice
and noble deed incessant.
Because of this,
yours is a duty sacred,
to lift your head,
and with body held proud,
to be—finally—
in their honor and stead—
happy.

Marie Delgado Travis

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