Under The Radar by H. Esparza

I kept the secret because Mom said so.

But, in school Mom was not present, so I shared anyway.
I broke the great silence,
Only to learn that I was not alone.

Quickly we learned the language of the oppressor,
I said, yo soy ilegal, ¿tú también? We laughed!
We’re all illegal!, we cried-out,
Transforming our identity, resisting the oppression.
Then, some uttered their stories of sneaking across three-times,
The days in the desert, the train,
Hard nights of running, ducking, crying and walking;
Then, the bell rang.

Years later, after much running, ducking, crying and walking,
With no future in the letters and books in sight, only cleaning tables
And sweeping floors with babies on the way.
We can proudly say that we’ve resisted so well,
For dignity is our welcoming mat, audacity our door-knob,
And our overcrowded apartment a warm-heart.

We’ve already won,
For living under the radar has not kept us from living in love.
But remember love is the starting line
From which we will smash the radar
And claim what is ours.

In honor of the millions of economical-exiles, children,
abuelit@s and parents resisting under the radar! Happy New IYJL!!!

Pic by Shepard Fairey

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