Poems excerpted from the album of fences forthcoming in spring 2018 from Cardboard House Press, translations by José Antonio Villarán
They sent don Marcos and I to secondary inspection
me with my bowl cut I was six
don Marcos 56 and I remember him as always with his navy-blue baseball cap
logo of some war boat or hardware store
we had crossed the border several times
this is the first in my memory
they sat me alone in a room
I didn’t hear from don Marcos for several hours
time stretches and contracts in memory
this text depends on that elasticity
now I understand because I always understand
a lot later but I understand
there the questions began
there the warnings began
there the border began
don’t lie kid he is not your father
he can’t be your father who is he?
Don Marcos Did you always use a baseball cap?
what I rarely used was my head
don Marcos how many times did you get deported?
one or two
lost track don Marcos?
my son I lost everything.
brags about never having crossed the border illegally
with fake IDs yes
always through the gate
looking at the customs officer in the eye
with a fake name yes
never through the hill
never through the desert
never through the river
I never crossed illegally never really being my self.