Alderete Lane

 

If I could scratch 

The sky. Paint it some juvenile color,

I would catch the drone filming my house,

show my face, and the pot-hole edges 

of Alderete Lane, something too illusive to believe, 

An eye-witness account of where I am from,

For years I have been trying to write it down, 

My house sitting on the edge of a crisis-
 

16,000 strangers beneath the international bridge, 

bomb threats 800 feet away from me,

Where my dad works, where he has worked for 15 years,

Where he is probably reading a magazine, waiting 

For a carton of prohibited mangoes to pass through,

Or a truckload of infested wood to seize,

To the left:  My aunt watering the banana trees,

To the right: My mother telling me to come inside, 

Close the gate, even though there is no

Lock, but because my father is not home, only

800 feet away, and I can see Mexico 

through my kitchen window. I wanted to 

go to college just to tell people that-  

 

I see my house from a drone on KENS-5, 

(I want to tell people that)

I see my cousin Gus on the front page of The Express,

(I want to tell people that)

I see no more water on the shelves in the grocery store,

Who is thirsty? We all are quenched,

In our tiny little homes, with our tiny little lives,

And the tiny little tv telling me the news,

And my tiny little mother telling me it is wrong. 

 

I see my brother, 5’10” and beautiful,

Right back at where we come from, 

all roads leading to home, 

the desert, the Carrizo cane by the river, 

slowly growing taller than him, 

waiting for him, 

and only bending their backs a little,

he’s standing in the middle 

of the University, 20, young, 

thumbs are green, and I want him to

Tell me what he wants.

 

My cousin Gus, 6’0” and beautiful, 

My neighbor for all my life,

Building the borders with rocks

And calluses that pull the others 

Over, I see him giving water from

His canteen to the little girl

In front of me, it is 98F, feels

Like 115F, and he does not want to

Leave, but I want him to. 

 

The thing about growing up on the border

is it does not ask you

what you want, 

what is given, 

is given to you,

I did not ask for bomb threats

I did not ask for a crisis

I did not ask to be able, to touch

The river water, and wash the salt

Off my skin, it was given, it was

given. 

 

I grew up with no fear about 

this cartel barging into the 

restaurant, or that bomb blowing up 

our Jr. High, I grew frozen, but all the moms, 

all the same,  lined outside at midday 

to pick up their kids and take them home, 

somewhere safe?

 

My friend from college, Rio Grande City, 

said his friend’s ex-girl was beheaded, 

another said they heard gunfire 

from the courtyard of their high school,

While the pledge of allegiance rang

Through the young and hardened hearts

Of their valley.

 

Who am I? 

Who are we to go to the grocery stores

  and come back everyday with nothing

  being said, shared, lived, loved-

One tomato was bad, so we throw it away.

One cherry looks sweet, so we eat it 

Before washing.

 

I see my cousins drinking in their barn, 

fires and bud and cold air burning

With the brush by the river.

 

I see my brother, grown, going 

with them, looking to fix 

what was given, still

leaving, always going,



 

[And though I don’t agree with what they are 

about to do next, my men come out late in the

Night to the sparks flying above 

the tin barrel, and they take their shotguns 

and shoot them up 

to the world.]

 

 

Gone.

Author Photo.jpg

Bianca V. Gonzalez is an M.F.A. Poetry candidate at Texas State University and fellow vegan. Her non-fiction and poetry pieces have been published in Harness Magazine, Poet’s Garden Alchemist, A Celebration of Poets, and other places her parents don't know about. Her debut book, ‘Pouring Poetry’ was published in May 2020 by Austin Macauley Ltd. She eats mostly raw, and enjoys sitting under the sun and watching her lentils sprout. The birds call her by her middle name.  Find her on Instagram: @biancavanessa_poet