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
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.