Watching Las Reinas: Escuela Secundaria, Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, 1990s

I never got to be in the contest

for the beauty queens even though I was

nominated every year since I started

school with the Mexicans. I bet

I would have won too—everyone here

is in love with rubias. I just got to bake

cupcakes for the fundraiser. I didn't

march in the Independence Day parade

or dance folklórico either. My parents

wrote letters saying it was against

our religion, but I still had to help

decorate during art class. I loved

cutting out hearts and flowers for

the floats and getting to use spray

glitter. No matter how hard I tried

I always ended up covered in sparkles.

About the Author

Abigail  Carl-Klassen

Abigail Carl-Klassen is a writer, researcher, poet, educator and translator. She grew up in the rural west Texas community of Seminole and worked for many years in public education and community development on the U.S.-Mexico border. She has done narrative collection and docupoetic work with migrant workers, Mennonite communities in Mexico and Texas, social workers, homeless communities, immigrant communities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and with Central American migrants and asylum seekers in Mexico. She earned an MFA from the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual Creative Writing Program and taught at El Paso Community College and the University of Texas El Paso. Her work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Catapult, Cimarron Review, Willow Springs, and Rhubarb, and Guernica, among others. She is a staff writer for Poets Reading the News and her chapbook Shelter Management is available from dancing girl press.