Sociology 101: Essay on Illegal Immigration

 

 

My words corralled inside the margins

Of a paper that described illegal immigration,

Each sentence tried to follow assignment guidelines.

 

Research,

The teacher had said,

Was to come from published scholars,

Experts who had studied the impact

Of illegal immigration on this nation.

 

They had uncles named Sam,

While I had one named Eduardo

Who crossed borders

But had never conducted studies.

 

What was I to do with him?

 

Without a vita,

Without a visa,

Without immigration papers,

He had become an expert

On how to hire the right coyote,

 

Having been hog-tied by the Migra

On his first attempt,

He grew eyes on the back of his head

And learned that the trick to running is to sprint

Before a starting pistol makes its first sound.

 

He                                 hurdled

           Over the

           U.S. Mexico

           Border

On his second try

And kept his feet going

Until he could no longer hear a coyote’s howl

Or an immigration officer’s growl.

 

As hard as I tried to keep him

From stepping foot on my paper,

It was impossible to block him

From running through the margins.

 

The day I quoted him, Uncle Eduardo

Took away the job of a published

Researcher who was in this country

Legally,

I was sure.

 

 

As he described the three week trek

From a bus station in El Salvador

                Crossing

                                The heart of rattling deserts

                To the mouth

                Of Connecticut,

My notes could not catch up with his words,

He

                Shifted

Through memories

As if he was afraid of someone

Snatching them from him.

 

Stacking my report on

Top

Of

Essays

With

Alien

Titles

I could see the

C

That would eventually be placed

On my cover page

For allowing my uncle

To trespass the same way I would

The following semester

In Introduction to American Literature

Where I raised my hand

And uttered the lonely word,

“But.”

 

 

                          

 

                                                            Jose B. Gonzalez