Lo Prohibido
ICE states its mission:
to protect national security,
enforce immigration laws,
fight crimes and
terrorist activity.
ln Manhattan, the phone woke me.
My daughter, Olivia, called From Oakland,
Told me what José, her fourth-grade student,
told her that morning. Face flushed, eyes wide.
he spoke only Spanish, el idioma
en que pudo decir lo prohibido.

On his way home from César Chávez Elementary School
in Richmond, the migra called ICE, asked,
Who in your house has no papers? I'm a citizen, born here, the boy said.

As José arrived home,
the migra burst in,
dogs straining on leashes.
The boy's eyes fixed
on jaws, snarls, white teeth.
His family has papers.
but in five days, José will be sent
back to Mexico, where he's never been,
the walk home from school without dogs.

--- From Poetry of Resistance
Renato Rosaldo
©2016 University of Arizona Press
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