I pledge allegiance to the flag.

Land of the free.

I beam with natural born citizenry.

All rise, right hand over the heart, face the flag, recite the words, project,

Moment of silence,

Day after day, year after year.

The statement appears on every classroom’s television.

The mold of Americanization, distorting ethnic identification.

In perfect unison.

Brown eyes held high the legacy of the states.

The Teller, the Platt-

Diffuse red communism.

“The U.S. occupation quickly began building schools and a sanitation system.”

How wonderful this country is

Helping those in need

My family came here for a better life

Innocence sought justification in the perverse economic interests.

I read of the War for Independence, the Bay of Pigs.

What a great country this is

Monopolizing foreign industries, controlling external commercial economies,

Raping lush land with Washington’s hands.

The island was a commodity, an uninhabited gold mine.

Reap the resources.

Paper surmounts any life.

In the name of democracy, your rights will be compromised.

My parents embraced this doctrine.

Of the United States of America.

Spanish wasn’t spoken at home.

Hola Abuela como estas? Te quiero, te amo, te extraño.

Doomed to occasional small talk with the exiled Doctorate of Biology and Anthropology.

Detached from a past that accounts for my existence,

My ghosts are crying for lack of recognition.

My generation swallowed the alternative history.

To the republic for which it stands.

Rhetoric, the dominant tool in widespread conditioning.

Selection, deflection.

Use “helped” rather than “forced.”

God forbid the mention of what dictators were placed into power, the lives that were

taken, the lands that were invaded.

In the name of democracy.

The years of my youth, washed in red, white, and blue.

Only upon leaving Miami did I learn

A star spangled banner hung over the truths.

One nation, under God.

With sails upon all Caribbean shores.


Thanksgiving, the Mexican-American War, Panama, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic;

Wrapped and tied with a bureaucratic bow.

Manifest Destiny.

Americanization complete.

I am a Cuban who isn’t Cuban.

I am an American, but not to Americans.

I am an anomaly, a product of deceived societies, promised prosperity and worthy


With liberty and justice for all.

Melissa Aguilera is a Cuban American writer originally from Miami, Florida. She graduated from Florida State University with a BA in both English and Anthropology with a concentration in Editing, Writing, and Media. Aguilera’s preferred genre is poetry, however, she has written op-ed and lifestyle articles for online publication, and also enjoys creative nonfiction essays. Her writing tends to explore themes concerning identity, mental health, love, and feminism. She currently works as a writer and project manager based in Portland, Oregon, where she lives with her fiance and dog.