every memory is another country

by MJ Santiago

When walking through Houston heat, I became
the only living creature; an alien
in a land made for eating oil. Streets made
maps meant to lead me safely towards
another planet. Remembering when
I heard the word alien and thought it meant
primarily, foreign, like a country.
Green meant legal, like a card, or a going.
Like when a carrying makes movement safe.
Back then, in Florida, I never walked.
I was one of many living creatures.
Back then, I thought California was a
planet. The word originally was
yet another country where I was from.

MJ Santiago is a queer Chicanx from Central Florida. They take photos, write poems, and organize with their community of LGBT people of color in Brooklyn, NY. Their first chapbook, Baby Knife, was published by Tenderness Lit in 2018. More of their work can be found at