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Bordertown

in World by

Pigeons are making a nest in the sink from used hypodermic needles. This house has been through everything. Fire inside, fire outside. If you don’t want me to jump, let me know. You’re not just killing a person. You’re killing his whole family. It’s something the government has been doing for a while. When migrants encounter border patrol agents, they see green, glowing eyes in the desert. I couldn’t make sense out of it. I completely collapsed. Like the time I was asked to play a violin without strings.

*

I could hear people screaming: “There he is!” It felt like my heart was going to stop. “What country is this?” I remember thinking. “Who’s watching me? Are those cameras on that turret trained on me?” The border control agents weren’t trying to discover truth. That was more and more difficult to do. I began to see the real problem – if they could catch and kill me, they would. Now even my sleep is full of noise, a symphony scored for a school district’s 1,000 broken instruments.

*

The border patrol agents treated us like criminals. Like they had the right to do anything they wanted. To all their questions, I could have answered “yes.” I like to drink and laugh, and I like to get laid like everybody else. They must have wondered why, if that was really the case, I was crying. They had their guns all loaded and ready. I kept thinking, “But I’m just a teacher.” They said things were going to get better and then shot seven people in the head. It was difficult to clean up and to fix things and get them put back – things that got bent, things that got scratched, things that got forgotten on trains with no names.

 


Howie Good is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize from ThoughtCrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.

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