There are Cholas

by Veronica Sandoval

There are Cholas feathering their hair

and only the smell of hairspray remains in the empty rooms

of Saturday night con las homegirls.

There are Cholas finely edging the tips of their razor sharp eyes—

the more perfect the upward swish,

the more fierce the stare.

There are Cholas under boulevard lights

with windows opened—

rolas blasting,


looking to take home memories,

to take home stories for the next time

Cholas get together to chismar.

There are Cholas at bus stops

at offices,

in universities,

in backyard jardines healing with good bruja rituals.

There are Cholas being political,

Cholas creating 3rd spaces,

Cholas cultivating kinships.

There are Cholas

embracing babies,


embracing lovers,


embracing themselves.

There are Cholas hocionas,

Cholas peloneras,

Cholas muy nice,

Cholas with voices the patriarch tries to hush up,

Cholas Vida Loca that everyone expects to not go far,

Cholas Activistas who believe themselves agents for social change,

Cholas raging against the injustices in their hoods,

Cholas de public spaces—de los lugares within the need.

Cholas, you are barrio Xingonas in political praxis.

You are the community academics return to

with our PhDs and theoretical notions

of what it takes to tell the narratives

you wear everyday on your skin.