what was lost to get me here


what was lost to get me here is an individual project curated to highlight the hard to reach places hidden within the depths of me. each photograph is paired with a poem. there have been many things I have lost in my journey of evolution. the black outfit is worn to pay homage to my grieving & mourning. my young self mourns, the grandchild in me mourns, & my un-mothered self mourns. it is the acknowledgment of deprivation. things must be lost in order for newness to be found.





when they ask me how I got my name,


I say Wonda died for it.

abuela came home to find her baby in the crib with no pulse. we both became empty spaces, leaching onto the women we could have been. where did she put the body?

two children had to burry their father’s for it. covering bodies with pounds of soil.


a newborn was separated from her mami’s womb for it. she came out covered in a red liquid she never knew would define her belonging. the birth wounds would recoil themselves to the sound of flesh separating from marrow.

that same newborn would be sold from her land of origin to begging hands across the North Atlantic for it. it would take two decades for her to find her way back home. when she did she would lose herself all over again.


in order to say my name you must understand all that has been lost for it to be.


table of contents —


afterword —


I lost my not-father who should have been because if he had maybe I would know how to trust a man, maybe I wouldn’t chase after the ones who don’t belong to me.


the boy I used to love is somewhere, probably loving some other light skinned girl who is just as lonely, just as thirsty for someone to tell her she’s full of enough juice to be sucked dry. if I had loved myself, I would have let you love me & we wouldn’t have lost so much time.


if she who has my blood kept me, I wouldn’t have spilled so much of it in the war. the men in camouflage would have marched off to another village. the women in tan kakis & button-down blouses would have filled out other forms in another state to arrange a different baby to be sold to four other begging white hands. the mama’s ovaries would be empty & both their eyes would be pink with desperation. that baby would satisfy their need, it would be a broken baby (but they wouldn’t know the difference). this is all interchangeable.


I would have known how to spell mami’s name when the boys in the back of the bus asked me where I was from and why my mama’s skin looked like cream.

I still insist on making eye contact with pain, & return to the land of my mother’s mother.


I am bad at goodbye's. I never got to say goodbye to the woman of my worth. I can’t visit her grave because we never buried her. until I was 13 I still set a plate for my mama at the dinner table, even after she found a new lover, even when they made a new family with new children in the house on the hill, a place I could never call home.

this is all that has been lost to get me here. don’t pretend you understand. don’t close your eyes, even though it’s ugly. it happened & that’s why I am here.

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curated by

Doriana Diaz

writings by

Doriana Diaz

photography by

Cacie Rosario