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battle of sin - Catalina Rios

our home wasn’t ours. fighting to claim space

in a plot of consequence, almost always. corner

house on Lansing st, surrounded by abandoned trees.

roots fighting to connect causing pavement to breach.

in this two level box the kids downstairs became weeds.

our nail beds stained of green with a fist full of lawn digging to

defend our seeds in a section of hood. claiming turf, their

spike-like flower heads invaded our warmth. yanking didn't

stop the growth.

movies from back home, las fiestas, that’s all we knew. two

worlds colliding in a dimly lit room. crouched on the floor

surrounding the TV; only through screen my parents

were home. at the edge of their seats, eyes spread

wide wearing tight grins.

trying to feel there, walking the crowds, searching for

familiar faces, agonizing to say hey, that's me! men

wearing sombreros, chest hair to the world, fitted blue

jeans doing the most. brown, light skinned women swinging

their hips as their long strands of locks heeled them in.

an outcome of 1522; the battle of sin.


Born in Mexico, at the age of 4, Catalina Rios immigrated with her family to Detroit, Michigan. Through poetry she found her voice advocating for immigrant rights since 2009. Catalina was selected to be featured in the Emerging Poets 2018 and 2019 Series for Z Publishing House. She also co-found Untold Stories of Liberation and Love, a poetry collective, to amplify local women of color’ creative courage. She loves visiting the Detroit river and taking walks in Belle Isle, especially during sunset.

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