I assure you,
I crossed that border but
behind the ears, snuck
in the pseudo
utero of a hollowed
In those years,
in that rage,
I learned to be
dispossessed; to dress
in your red,
white & blue.
to live, to trek
in the shadows
of your steeples,
I was to step
soft as the shorn ewe
my snout touch
your callused hands
as the razor’s edge
scoured my hide
rings through this
still. Over & over.
“You don’t get the right to a hearing”
-Bryan Cox, I.C.E. spokesman, 2017
the field in the form stands blank
because it’s true:
alien, being of ordinary abilities,
I have no wisdom to peddle,
no arcanum to speak of.
Every day, my Spanish grows grungy, unkempt.
I was a good-for-nothing brat,
anyone would attest to that.
In 20 plus years of living here
I never took to pie,
apple or otherwise;
never pocketed a single bill
from any till.
When the towers fell, I saw
the smoke plumes (tall)
from the kitchen window;
the hair on my nape raised.
When dad’s ingrown turned septic,
when ma’s wrist was sprained,
when Lola’s one good eye was cast
to darkness, cash
is how we paid.
Because I know your enterprise is not
to mince words, to gather wool,
can only end in my ejection,
Hermano, here’s what I admit:
Unlike the man who dug JFK’s grave
on his day off
to the tune of $3 an hour,
I will continue to live
nondescript, to love
even in the fellest fault.
I do not consider myself
I do not consider our talk
* * *
Ricardo Hernandez is the son of Mexican immigrants. A recipient of fellowships from Lambda Literary and Poets House, his work has appeared most recently in The Offing, Foundry, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He’s an MFA candidate at Rutgers-Newark.
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