Poem in reaction to June 23, 2016 SCOTUS decision on immigration
It’s quiet. We are quiet. They like us to be that way.
It’s not a debate of us vs them. I know what you are thinking.
It goes beyond that.
I call my mom everyday in the afternoon
to get a glimpse of the life I’m missing not being there—not being beside her in the hot West Texas sun. I talk in Spanish, uncomfortably shifting in my body for most of the people around me don’t speak my mother’s tongue.
The hot sun strikes my face and dark hair. She tells me she is roasting chiles; dad bought some earlier that morning so she could make fresh salsa. I think of her working hands roasting, cleaning and always being efficient. My hands are well kept, typing all day and answering to pointless emails.
Today, I read the news about the Supreme Court decision. I read that millions of people living in the shadows will remain just that—a shadow. They don’t matter.
As long as things keep churning, houses keep getting cleaned and restaurants are well kept like a good oiled machine, it does not
matter. Maybe if we were whiter, or maybe if we didn’t look away with sad, brown eyes we would matter. Just maybe we would be accepted. Just maybe we would be considered worthy of not being separated from our loved ones. Just maybe we would not always be called illegal.
How I hate that word, illegal. Yes, I know what you are thinking. They crossed the desert; no one invited them in. They did not use the proper channels.
I get it, but you don’t understand shit. You don’t understand the violence and the poverty that penetrates Latin America. You do not understand that my grandfather had to leave his children at home, alone, without a mother in order to work the strawberry fields of California when there was a program (legal btw) called the bracero program.
You don’t understand that my mother oftentimes did not have anything to eat—you do not understand that when poverty is your daily existence—that you live to work because you have to—that it’s your human right to find a better place in this world. It’s your human right to pursue happiness. It’s your human right to try and feed yourself; it’s your right to travel thousands of miles on foot to try and find that which you cannot for the life of you find at home.
It’s our right to not be invisible anymore.