An immigrant is defined as someone who migrates to live in a foreign country. If the United States wants to label my father a foreigner, then I am just as undeserving for a citizenship. I do not recognize my country nor the “American Dream” promised to my dad when he stepped across the border. As a matter of fact, across the border you will find the missing land of Mexico. In that case, I legally ask that you give my dad his deserving citizenship and call yourself the illegal alien, America. I write poetry to shed tears and light to the families still in the waiting room of the detention centers.
..."You don’t know these hours of desperation
You don’t know the building behind
is a prison for man who migrated here.
You don’t know the blue in the sky
traced outside the prison
is deceiving for a 110 degree fan.
You don’t know the formal attire
was for a scheduled court; 8 a.m.
You don’t know the water buildup and bruising in our eyes
cried trauma and redemption.
You don’t know the uniform on my dad’s back
was June 20th’s work clothes
same ones they cuffed him with,
same ones he made his one phone call with.
You don’t know he birthed all daughters
1, 2, 3, 4, and me
my mom to his right.
You don’t know this was in Adelanto
exactly 30 days.
You don’t know no one slept the night before
in the green house of Compton
2 hours away.
You don’t know we traveled in two cars
right before 5 a.m.,
just in case.
You don’t know we arrived at 7 a.m.
lecturing a 3-year-old how to behave in a court room.
You don’t know we didn’t know how to tell a 3-year-old
not to speak her dad,
or there would be consequences.
You don’t know we prayed in the waiting room,
You don’t know they called our name
you can only enter with proof of identification,
pass the metal detector
empty our pockets
and walk into the second waiting room.
You don’t know this time it was only 5 feet worth of air
sitting on breathless chairs
running out of air,
anxiety took away my bloodstream.
You don’t know there was a little window
on a door, in the second waiting room
where you can see the blue- only for misdemeanors
and the red- for severe crimes
entering boxed court rooms.
You don’t know we piled our heads onto the little window
every time more blue and reds would arrive
hoping to see my dad- he was blue.
You don’t know we waited for over two hours
and I saw our hope
walking out the room,
I didn’t say anything.
You don’t know my dad’s attorney was late
he was injured
sweat slid down his scalp,
he was late.
You don’t know we knew this could affect my dad’s case,
I still didn’t say anything.
You don’t know we were called in
my hands could not sit still
my heart pulsed a flatline
my head fainted,
each time a little closer to the floor.
I asked God to take over my body.
My sisters, I, and my mom
had to sit in the very, very back row.
locked trust in God
locked what if all goes wrong
locked we have each other
locked I love my dad
locked please give him back
You don’t know my dad was sitting in the front
next to his attorney
whispering words of release,
You don’t know my dad had a translator
a headset to help
and a microphone.
You don’t know the panic
the cries for help
in our bodies
sitting in the very, very back row.
You don’t the woman in the suit
to the judge’s right
was here to do her job,
get my dad out of this country.
The judge began to speak
a mouth-full of words.
He spoke about our letters
the letters my sisters, I, and my mom were forced to write
begging the judge to return what was ours.
recognizing the variety of 6
the college attendees
the over 20 years presence in our lives
the dad who carries his family
the dad who’s never surrendered working at 5.a.m.
till the sun shut,
the dad who is a leader to this country
the, the reason my dad was arrested was reasonless
the, I do not understand why you were held for 30 days.
You don’t know the judge asked my father to look back at his
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
devoted to him
never ever leaving him lonely.
You don’t know my dad did not have the strength to turn his head
a strained throat
and clumped eyes.
You don’t know you can’t imagine how many tears cried down
his 5 daughters and mom’s cheeks
in the very, very back row.
You don’t know the God I know
the God I know secured our prayers
the God I know asked my dad’s judge to save a family of 7.
You don’t know my sisters, I, and my mom
walked out that room
to deep breaths of waterfalls
heavy breaths of relief
startled breaths of suffering
shaking breaths of gratitude.
You don’t know these hours of desperation
happened before the picture taken by my Tia,
my dad’s sister,
and you still don’t know