Poetry: “Deportation of ’93” by Cynthia Plascencia

The LORD had said to Abram, Leave

your country, your people and your

father’s household and go to the

land I will show you

Genesis 12:1


Small cracks near his eyes

cradled tears. They rolled off

his face, falling into my mouth like salt

caplets. I gripped his arm, pulling

the hairs, watching them stretch

and furl back, until I tore

them all off. It was so dry

and I was thirsty. I no longer wanted

Ah-meh-ree-ca, no more ham-an-ecks,

I whispered to my father.

But as the first splash

shattered the river, I felt skin

bubbles raise from his flesh

and we couldn’t go back.

The night washed over us

and I slipped away from him

into the currents, hoping

the ripples would catch

my fingers and pull me back.

I was drowning inside swirls

of brown marbles, each slipping

from my hand and down my throat

until their weight settled me down.

La migra caught us in the dark,

my father trying to pull me out with sugar canes and reeds,

and they sent us back home.

I crossed the border that night

in his arms again, the dry grit sanding

my skin and air funnels sending

peels of red flakes to the other side.