Author asked to remain Anonymous.The author and her novio have been in relationship for over six years. When people ask why they don’t get married so he can get a green card, her answer is, “It only works that way in the movies.
So we’re walking through slush on a February Sunday
Going up to the drugstore so you can get some medicine for your friend
Who doesn’t drive
Or have a gringa girlfriend like me who can drive him
And while we’re there you’ll look for a Valentine for me
A big box shaped like a heart, full of chocolate
Because you know I love chocolate (but not as much as I love you).
And when we leave it’s dark already, and there seems to be a hole in my boot
Which is filling up with ice water and I really would like to whine
But I’m thinking about you, crossing the desert
How many times? – with your cousins, with a coyote
The heat, the snakes, the danger. La migra looking for you.
How you walked all that way to find life, to find work.
No dinero en Mexico.
And I’m thinking about the women I know who did the same thing
And who tell me they were raped in the desert, tell me matter-of-factly
One more horror
And the woman who crossed the desert with a toddler on her hip
Proud of their endurance
And I’m not inclined to complain about icy water in my boots
Just keep walking
Just a tiny fraction of the walking they have done.
And I wanted this to be a prayer
But when I pray what comes out is a roar:
IT’S NOT FAIR.
It’s not fair that while I was growing up in middle class North America
Going to school each day, and Brownies, and learning to read
You were going barefoot
Leaving school at seven years old to herd the cows
Never really learning to read, or do math, or learn history or geography or science or all the million things there are to know in the world
For fifty-eight years you have been working. Herding cows, planting crops, building walls. You are such a good worker. Nobody I know can work like you. And after fifty-eight years of working working working, no pension, no health insurance, no sick time. No vacations except when there’s no work, and then also no pay. Minimum wage, or maybe a little more.
Your hourly wage is less than half of mine, yet you work three times – six times – ten times – harder than I do in an hour.
It’s not fair.
But on we walk, and hold hands across the slushy sidewalk.
Rescue your people, Lord.
That’s my prayer.