Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

Rio Born by Roberto A Lopez

I am,
of that immigrant swash
which washed forth
onto the shore,
born of
the Big River.


Not quite the lore and roar
of the Mississippi,
but the hushed and thick brown
and mesquité green,
the wily horned-toad and
thorny cactus fiend,
fenced in with patrol dogs
and javelina hogs,
and palm trees and
American flags and
Mexican flags,
and people wanting—


I hear
accordion, banda,
Tucanes, watcha!
Oye! Migra! Mestizo!
I taste
bistec, aguacate, cilantro,
horchata,
I hear
hijo, mijo,
Coconut! Gringo!
I see,
towers,
tires, wire,
and children playing—


O’ how can you be
in and not of the seen?


We,
are too river to be border,
too border to be river,
a break between two
and yet connector, too.

~

Roberto Alejandro Lopez is a community outreach coordinator with the Texas Civil Rights Project. He is a native of the Rio Grande Valley and spends his days fighting border militarization complex. Roberto studied engineering at Cornell University, and once upon a time was a high school math teacher. Some days he sleeps too much, other days he writes.

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