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.