by Ruth Miranda
(Valdivia, Chile)

Yet in the plane, a bitter taste in my mouth, my heart beat risen,
everything getting even worse -- the feeling of escaping.
Escape to know a whole new world,
from leaving my dusty country boots,
changing my culture, language, scenery, people
but mostly, taking off the mask of a girl and changing it for a woman's.
A woman without parents, friends, siblings,
A woman alone in the big apple.

I left my little South American city, Valdivia,
arrived in the world's cosmopolitan capital.
I changed my rural roads, covered in dust
for streets with thousands of modern vehicles.
The wooden houses were now impressive buildings,
and the echo of a flummox 2009
got sometimes confused with millions of voices, accents,
faces, skin colors, souls.

It was a year spent in the most popular city
where countries around the world meet as brothers
where avenues separate china from Italy
and where a huge park looked like home.
For a whole year green trees were changed for green signs,
People -- walking souls -- always in a rush
It was New York the city where my memories were left
and it is Valdivia where I bring them back.

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