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Quien Sabe Dos Lenguas…

Quien Sabe Dos Lenguas Vale Por Dos
(“Whoever knows two languages is worth two people”)


One American Dollar is worth
19 Mexican Pesos 

The favor of 14% of American voters is worth
682 Latin American children 
forcibly separated
from their parents.

Quien sabe manipular a niños
sabe controlar el futuro.

Whoever knows where the missing
43 students from Igual were buried
is worth… que sé yo, las matemáticas me confunden.

Quien sabe usar dos rastrillos 
vale diez dolares por hora.

If your government disappeared
dozens of students, and gangs 
killed your neighbors,
threatened your family, 
would you stay?

What wall would you not tunnel under 
to keep your children alive? 

Seventeen lawns 
MAS
fifty-six hundred weeds
SON
82 dollars a day

600 chickens
MENOS
their sticky intestines
MAS
the iron scent of blood
SON
68 dollars a day

Quien sabe volar con solo una ala 
vale por dos 
cuervos cubiertos en cenizas.

One American farm
MENOS
twelve deported workers 
MAS
twelve natural-born Americans 
who can’t cut the work
SON
Six acres of unpicked strawberries rotting.

Trucker’s hat soaked in sweat.
Broken walking stick.
Crows waiting for exhausted crossers 
to drop to the desert floor.

The unpromised land they wander towards
is “ours” because we ignored immigration laws
that predate ours by centuries.

On every corner a Starbucks,
seemingly endless lawns.

Would you risk your life 
for your life?

The innumerable stammering’s of a demagogue 
MULTIPLICADO POR
political pandering
MAS
Families fleeing violence
DIVIDIDO POR
Toxic nationalism
SON
Cultural war crimes

Our government’s agents 
separate young children
from their mothers.

Nuestro gobierno sistematicamente 
traumatiza niños. ¿Entiendes lo que digo?
 Nuestro gobierno traumatiza niños.

One family seeking asylum
from El Salvadorian violence
DIVIVIDO POR
a legal and immoral system
SON
their frantic mother
MENOS
one daughter, ten years old
MENOS
her youngest, her three-year-old daughter
SON
illegally screaming, illegally 
screaming, illegally screaming.




Posted 06/08/18
This poem was written after my neighbor, who has lived here for years while waiting for her application for asylum to be processed, was separated from her young son for two weeks.
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