06.15.18
Weekly poem on Trump Presidency

JUAN FELIPE HERRERA

Roll Under The Waves

 

we roll under the waves
not above them we body surf and somehow we lose
the momentum there are memories trailing us empty orange
and hot pink bottles of medicines left behind
buried next to a saguaro there are baby backpacks
and a thousand shoes and a thousand gone steps
leading in the four directions each one without destinations
there are men laying face down forever and women
dragging under the fences and children still running with
torn faces all the way to Tucson leathery and peeling
there are vigilantes with skull dust on their palms  
and the trigger and the sputum and the moon with
its pocked hope and its blessings and its rotations into the spikes
there is a road forgotten with a tiny sweet roof of twigs
and a black griddle threaded with songs like the one
about el contrabando from El Paso there is nothing
a stolen land forgotten too a stolen life branded and
tied and thrown into the tin patrol box with flashes of trees
and knife-shaped rivers and the face of my mother Luz and
water running next to the animals still thrashing choking
their low burnt violin muffled screams in rings
of roses across the mountains

 

— From illegal me illegal you, Unpub, JFH

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The son of migrant farm workers, Herrera was educated at UCLA and Stanford University, and he earned his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His numerous poetry collections include 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (2008), and Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream (1999). In addition to publishing more than a dozen collections of poetry, Herrera has written short stories, young adult novels, and children’s literature. In 2015 he was named U.S. poet laureate.

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 illustration:  anna_croc01

illustration: anna_croc01