YOUR LIFE OR HERS
by Norma Liliana Valdez
(“Your Life Or Hers” was originally published in The Acentos Review and is reprinted here today with permission from the poet.)
Norma Liliana Valdez arrived to California from Mexico in her mother’s pregnant belly. She was born and raised in the Bay Area. Her poetry seeks to disentangle the tradition of women’s oppression and pain through the personal intersection of the psyche with the page. She is an alumna of the Voices of our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) writing workshop for writers of color and the Writing Program at UC Berkeley Extension. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from San Francisco State University and works with first-generation, underrepresented students as a community college counselor. She is currently working on her first poetry manuscript, Coyolxauhqui.
Editor’s Note: Today is the second time I’ve had the pleasure to feature Ms. Valdez on my weekly series here on As It Ought To Be. While what I often adore in Ms. Valdez’s work is an airiness on the page and an expert ability to play with and manipulate sound, today’s poem takes us in a different direction. A more narrative-driven piece, this poem is deeply personal, and, amidst thick prose, takes the reader into the heart not only of a story, but of a life, and shows us the price paid for that life’s journey.