Treasure Island

Michael Mira


International Codes

Calling cards scattered on the sidewalk
articulate biographies in numerical language.
Conversations between Houston and Guatemala
are whispered in private lines; cries
transmitted to bastard sons, by-passing
transnational borders and Spanglish lingo
soaked in rhythmic Star-Spangled Banners.

Francisco knows that he cannot go home
without losing the sacrifices he had collected
for 15 years, and tearful prayers from many nights
kneeling in his boss's broom closet.

But hearts are strong up north, even if
they're tethered to familiar door knobs
in countries south of our consciousness.

Economic games by rich men without faces
fire starting line pistols to watch others
run towards the border that divides
earth and customized paradise, laughing at
calloused hands extending between golden bars,
trying to grasp the thin wrists of
their calling card children.

Submitted: Sunday, July 20, 2014

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Topic(s): immigration

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I used to work at a restaurant with (ambiguous legal status) Guatemalan immigrants. I used to find one of the guys, Francisco, kneeling in the supply room, praying and crying. As someone who came to the United States as a child, aboard a commercial jet, riding first-class with my rich godmother, I could never understand what it was like to be a struggling immigrant worker in a country so foreign from my culture.

This is dedicated to overseas workers around the world who perform the shittiest jobs just to provide for their families back home.

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