How To Spot an Illegal Alien (words(on)pages)

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How To Spot An Illegal Alien

Look down at the hands.

See the rough wear from labor

and skin soaked in sun.

Or in the cream on the elote

The chili powder on the fruit

The way the oil and flour roll into the tortilla

Underneath the hairnets of the

restaurant you adore.

Look south to the rivers and see

them, expert swimmers.

See them on the corner,

next to the railroad in downtown Houston –

just waiting out there to take your job.

In the yard of your neighbor,

blowing leaves, fully-clothed in 100 degrees.

In the cotton field in the 1930s

sacrificing education, for family.

In the way a grape tastes sweet in your mouth,

They’re their now – inside you.

Eating their Ice Cream outside in 1940,

because, No Mexicans Allowed inside.

Inside of blocked Immigration Reform.

Staring down the barrel of a Texas Ranger’s gun.

Singing the chorus of de colores

while cleaning your bathroom

while cleaning your house

while cleaning a country.

They’re inside the beat of your Zumba class,

and the way your hips do that gentle sway.

They look like Jennifer Lopez, Frida Kahlo, Cesar Milan, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, George Lopez, Robert Rodriguez, Juan Felipe Herrera and the garbage man, your postwoman

like your doctor and lawyer, your mother and father,

your lover,

like the red white and green

and red white and blue.

They look like me and they look like you.

They look like the eagle that soars through

the rocky mountains,

the cougar on the cliff.

They are the sunrise and the sunset.

They are the foundation.

They are the soil underneath your feet

and if you just look all around,

you’ll find them in the air you breathe

and you’ll find them

etched into a statue,

at the beginning of a great nation,

in between the words

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me…

They are inside this sea.

The are the crispness in a uniform,

And the snap of a salute.

They’re fighting for your freedoms

for your families

and for you.


They are feathers and snake skin.

They are deep breathes and slow sighs.

They are people, not pawns.

They are cells flowing through the blood

in my veins and they’re my curly hair.

My dark eyes and they’re my voice.

They are My voice.

They are The Breath. The inhale. The exhale.

They are a nation.

They are Us.

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