For SELENA

By Timothy Dailey-Valdés

From Fall 2017

 Someone said Selena the other day
 but meant Selena Gomez
 and I wanted to teach the girl who said it
 about real música, back-in-the-day música.
 I didn’t know how without a whole afternoon.
 
 Someone said Selena the other day
 but meant the J-Lo flick.
 You can’t be penned in celluloid fronteras.
 You’re the only one we’d do anything for,
 Nuestra Señora Como La Flor.
 
 You taught me duende before I knew the word.
 I could listen to your canciones all day, chingona.
 You taught me what my childself could learn
 of Tejanidad, Latinidad, Chicanismo
 when no one else would. Que Dios te bendiga.
 
 I tried to dance like you when
 the girls on the playground would try to dance like you
 porque you were la Reina
 de Tejas Verdad and you knew
 so much I didn’t.
 
 You knew how to fall in love, knew
 the corozón’s botany, knew me in a way
 I didn’t know myself yet. You were my first
 patron saint. Santa Selena, show me the path
 to fearless.
 
 I was six years old when a lady
 who said she was your friend
 tried to kill you. I cried
 for a while como la Llorona
 but I’d forgotten
 
 that a person can’t kill what isn’t mortal,
 can’t touch an estrella.
 They told me you were gone,
 but you and I, hermana,
 sabemos.