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Not Our Kids
By Luis Rivas

they scream like caring imposters, like
phony parents and patriots, ILLEGALS
OUT, RETURN TO SENDER, USA USA USA,
NOT OUR KIDS, behind red-white-and-blue
flags, holding up signs to mainly central
american children that read, GO BACK TO
MEXICO, each sign a marker of american
intelligence.

and the honduran, salvadoran and
guatemalen children who clutch to each
other as their small eyes peer out the
heavily-tinted windows of those three
department of homeland security buses
onto the desert landscape of the great
southwest, whose land ironically is more
closely linked to the heritage of those
child immigrants on board, whose ancient
lineage once referred to the territory of
what we now call california as mexico
prior to 1850, and prior to that still the
natives, whose blood may very-well be
traced to those small-yet ancient veins
inside those buses, referred to this land
devoid of colonized fences, walls and
brown judas border patrol agents as
home, as it was intended for all its original
inhabitants, as home to hundreds of
tribes, like the chumash, the alliklik, the
kitanemuk, the serrano, the gabrielino
luiseño cahuilla, the tongva and the
kumeyaay to name a few.

but those patriotic protestors of european
descent who tell these children to GO
BACK HOME, an irony that is tragically lost
on them, all they can do is forgive
themselves and follow murrieta’s mayor
alan long’s bigoted wisdom as he reassures
us that it is not about the children,
personally; it’s about the system, federally;
much the same as the racist says it’s not
about race, it’s about personal liberty (with
a priority on white people—although i’m
sure they have plenty of brown friends).

the children hold tight to each other and
ask, is this why we left, is this where we
want to be, they hate us, they want to
hurt us, to which another quickly responds,
what other options do we have, there is
nothing for us back home.

the children see past the head of the bus
driver where there’s a group of white
men and women blocking the buses,
holding up signs and the u.s. flag, shouting
that they’re sick and tired of illegals and
gangs and obama and the government and
taxes and caring and brown people and a
troublesome u.s. history and all the dead
indians they have to step over whose
names forever haunt “their” cities and the
new ones being bused in.

the children are scared but they have seen
far worse than this; they have seen their
fellow young travelers fall from trains in
mexico and get sucked in underneath the
wheels, get mangled and die; they have
seen the younger girls smiling with
immigrant hope one minute, the next they
disappear into the arms of a pedophiliac
night; they have seen body parts sticking
out from the desert floor like strange
brown nopal, grim markers reminding
them—in case they should forget—that
the world is a dangerous place; but there
are good people who are in it, sometimes
hiding, sometimes themselves also hurt,
scared and traveling, but we are here and,
regardless of what those confused white
settler-colonialists say, you are my son,
you are my daughter;

you are our kids.

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