One of 60,000 Stories
“Da menos tu hija! La queremos para nueva reigna!”
He shouted outside our house. We saw him from the window. I shuddered at the sight of his tattoos. His friends laughed. I knew what he wanted: A gang queen. A girl like me to rape over and over again, until they were finished. A girl like me whose throat they would then slice open.
and whose body they would leave on the street.
with the dirt
Madre spent her last peso to hire the coyote. He was a squat, muscular middle-aged man that reaked of tequila and onions. He led me to the others. Ninos and Ninas younger than me. He herded us into the back of a dusty and banged-up delivery truck and covered us in canvas sheets. I won’t speak of the days sweating through my only shirt, the very air so stale and hot under the canvas we all dared not throw off. Or of the nights when he came and pulled me away from the others.
“Da me la concha, puta! You think your mother paid me enough? I’ll leave you right here!”
in the night, two squirming shadows
one muffled cry
We somehow ended up on the bus that reached the border of Los Estados Unidos. A mob of Blancos massed there, surrounding us. Many held signs. I could not read English, so I asked a woman seated nearby to read one. “’Return to sender,’” she answered.
The mob screamed. One woman spit at my window. I covered my face so she wouldn’t see my tears.
But I couldn’t cover my ears to not hear the other children crying.
sunrise, far away
“Give me your poor, huddled masses”
Photograph by Craig Cloutier