My apus made me from the stars
and the earth. I am the daughter
of the mountains, the rivers, and the trees.

I was raised in harmony
painted with soil and full of life,
shining like my mother’s corn, resilient
like my father’s crops.

I was raised in a community
of peach, orange and lemon trees.
They would feed my soul with tender flowers.
Red butterflies would dance in joy.

I was raised in deceit,
pain, bullets, and fear. The mountains cried
in agony that turned into rage
and fury. The earth crumbled. I died.

I was born in captivity. I was haunted
with the ucumari rambling in that lost forest.
He looked at the cosmos and wondered
if he would be last. And so did I.

I was raised and forgotten.
My last name was crafted from my mother’s wildflowers.
Huaytalla, they called me. At dawn,
I started the uprising. After, I became
numb in a constant euphoric present,
lightheaded, weak. Sudden darkness.

I was raised without humanity. They took
my braids and my colors. I wasn’t anything
but theirs,
and my beloved land became hell.

I was born with my ancestors’ weight on my shoulders.
Daughter of the moon and the river. I became
a mother at the age of three. It would happen again.
Six times.
Alone in the ravine, my sisters and my brothers
in my brown earthy lliclla. I became my mother
when she left.

I was raised in strange grey lands. Dead.
Overwhelmed by artificial, suffocating,
burning noise. Grieving five hundred years of loss.
My heritage,
forgotten. I digged the earth with my nails,
searching, begging.

I was made from the wind.
The huayra calls me at night,
she wants to take me to my homeland.
Near the river we will rest.
A blue hummingbird will search
for my flowered braids.

Made from the stars, we were.
Small bright islands in a dark ocean, flowing
in purples, yellows and blues,
sleeping in my grandmother’s home.

Nia is a freshman from Argentina majoring in physics and astronomy.