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.
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.
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
I was sure.
As he described the three week trek
From a bus station in El Salvador
The heart of rattling deserts
To the mouth
My notes could not catch up with his words,
As if he was afraid of someone
Snatching them from him.
Stacking my report on
I could see the
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,
Jose B. Gonzalez