AFTER THREE BEERS MY TIA TALKS ABOUT THE BORDER
by ALFREDO AGUILAR
en aquel tiempo we would wait for night to fall
& then cross from tijuana easily. there was hardly any migra
then. not like now. today there’s a chingo de migra
all the way up to san ysdiro & past that. they got vans
& guns & dogs—you’ve seen it. it’s not like before.
then gente started coming through the desert & algunos
don’t make it out sabes? sometimes familias don’t ever know
what happens to the bodies. their names stop blooming
in their family’s throats & the family lights a candle for an empty
casket. it’s not safe, even with coyotes. you can’t always trust
them. una vez i heard that after they paid him, the coyote left
behind the gente he was bringing over in the middle of desert.
te imaginas? shit, if your already here you don’t want to visit
home & then risk your life coming back. your primito
probably wouldn’t recognize my face i’ve been away
so long. he’s grown up so fast. esta así de alto. sabes,
he once told me mami i’m going to cross the desert
or dig a tunnel & join you. i told him ni se te occura esa
estupidez. it’s sweet, but i’ll bring him over after
i get my papels sorted. no chingues, the first time i crossed
i crawled under a fence. my stomach was covered
with dirt. the stars were out. i don’t know if i ever rose.