Melanie Ledesma-Cajas

Soy Latina hasta la muerte

With my hair tied back and my baby hairs gelled down 


But mother...        


You see….


Five years old hearing “Dejame alisarte el cabello” 

So my curls can disappear

And the diffusion of culture in my hair turn Caucasian Is that what you crave for me to be ?


Just a toddler used to being chemically altered,

 No Dove or Irish Spring,

“Skin-lightening soap is what it ‘ought to be


But mother...        


You see….


My eyes are dark  

Like the wet tundra of our people

Like the large-pored, supple-skin you had which you wished to bleach  Like the sea of people who see what you seek to believe



You see….



Now I’m grown,

Or as you would say 



And I chemically altered my thinking

              The purest form of I,                                        

A bleached afro-latina woman ready to claim what’s mine

Melanie Ledesma-Cajas is currently a freshman at the University at Albany double majoring in International Business and English with a minor in Portuguese. Her writing derives from a love of individuality, life, and the beauty of the human experience both physical and meta. Raised in the community of Burnside Avenue in the Bronx, Melanie’s writing manifests the grit, yet the interwoven issues of a broken community. Her goals include using her writing, musical background, and love of traveling to be able to work internationally in human rights as well as to broaden her own knowledge on entrepreneurship and the melodic arts of both music and poetry.