"Immigrant Song," "Read Pretty," and 'To You who prefers my fetus over me,'

“To be an immigrant is to be marked [always] by the border.” (Dolmage 27)

Immigrant Song

Hello my name is [Oh beautiful] I come from [for spacious skies] I am running from [for amber waves] if they catch me they will [of grain] and no one survives that. 
Hello my name is [for purple mountains] I just turned THIS many. My mother is in [majesties] my father is dead. My brothers and I came [above the] and hopefully one day I’ll become a [fruited plains]. 
Hello my name is [America]. I come from [America]. I helped you and [God shed his grace]. Please [on thee] want to [and crown thy good] they will [with brotherhood]. Please [from sea] help [to shining] please [sea].



Read Pretty

“Yet Smitherman’s encounters show that even whites, supposedly the majority of non-dialect speakers, don’t communicate in the accepted standard [English].”

-Young, 2009, 68


My white is caught on my throat
if I am not speaking English and my

Spanish is scrambled in the back of my

tongue decaying along with my


then what am I actually saying?
My skin wears White my 

hair wears Peru but

every-                                   one

tells me that my accent
does not bleed through.
I am aware I am


because my face does not match my blood

that not-English is what exists
on my tongue.
My abuelita speaks


Spanish drips from the side of her -itos

all that she did
all she went through
so I could speak in
a language that she


un poquito.
I am supposed to


the not-English

the not-Spanish

code switching
saying their translingualism is lesser
than my
My Whiteness is caught in my throat
as I stand up here in front of


attempting to tell
that I am


but I don’t know what to do.



To You who prefers my fetus over me,
             I will NOT bear your baby.                            My insurance covers contraptions placed deep within my uterus, any egg to break past iron teeth and bear my body with bundles I cannot handle.
             I have                    means:
finances, steady profession with sick days, prosperous parents, affluent extended family.
             I will NOT bear your baby.                              Were I in the need to…
GO CAMPING                            in a state that does not allow                              CAMPING
             I would calmly collect my case, drive or fly over the border. I will not be saved
shame, anguish, sorrow, remorse, discomfort, internal/external abuse, lost loved ones, lack of support
             my life will not be at risk – my health nor my dreams.
             I will NOT bear your baby.
my sisters        disproportionately:     colored, poor or young              who do not have the means
             monetarily, physically, emotionally, mentally, educationally,
             my sisters will                                                                                                            die
by unsafe means             by babies their bodies can’t carry             by losing themselves and their
             I will NOT bear your baby.            You have not saved any unwanted baby from my womb
or theirs                      or any who is desperate enough                      they will not be saved
shame, anguish, sorrow, remorse, discomfort, internal/external abuse, lost loved ones, lack of support
you will add:


On their                               bodies, minds, hearts, lives                         many of them will die.
             I will NOT bear your baby.
             You stopped nothing.
             You will hurt many of my sisters who are not like me.
             You claim to be pro-life –
             You killed them.



Kayla Pica Williams is a fourth year in her English with a creative writing emphasis PhD at Illinois State University. She obtained her masters from CalArts and has published several short pieces in Stirling Lit, Club Plum, and Rosette Maleficarum as well as a novella in Big Fiction Magazine. She is a second-generation Peruvian American who enjoys long walks with her King Charles and calls her mom daily. Kayla promotes the ACLU.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, August 21, 2023 - 11:20