Copper Skin

Copper Skin

By Jennifer Patiño

I am in New York for the second time in my life
and looking for ways to spend the hours
between sleeping in a tiny hostel room. 
There are brochures for the green lady and Ellis Island.
I imagine myself munching on overpriced hot dogs
and watching red faced Midwesterners
oohing and ahhing as they imagine
their ancestors streaming here on boats –
all without a glimmer of curiosity about
what used to be on the island before.
Narcissism that passes for history
and I wonder about how many MAGA hats 
would be in the crowd without irony.

The thought of Ellis Island repulses me
with no monument to immigration in the South
just barbed wire to disrupt the ages old flow 
of peoples of this continent,
no monument but the people themselves
and copper skin that infuriates
because it won’t change color.
No, I don’t want to see the green lady 
with her pretty poem not meant for me.
I want a cheap hot dog and somewhere to
scribble something for myself.


About Jennifer Patiño

Jennifer Patiño is a poet, writer, editor and community archivist. She helps run Sixty Inches From Center, an online arts publication and archiving initiative that specializes in documenting the work of marginalized communities in Chicago. Her writing has appeared in Gozamos, Dicen Que Dicen, Cantologia I: Amor, and |Tap| Lit Mag. She graduated from Columbia College with a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and dual minors in Poetry and Latino/Hispanic Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign with a specialization in digital archives.