Featured image: Seesaws along the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
By Luka Gawlinski Silva
Él no sabe lo que la pared quiere decir.
Él no mira el alambre de espino o los agentes y soldados nos observan
con sus tasers y pistolas.
Él sólo mira el brinquedo,
un balancín rosa,
pero creo que en el otro lado ellos le llaman el sísó,
y me da risa pues es un nombre muy ridículo
para ellos, somos un río.
Creen que solo queremos hacer mal en sus ciudades.
Que yo sacrificaria todo,
mi vida entera,
solo para destruir la vida dellos.
Que ridiculo esto, y qué ridículo llamar una cosa de sisó.
Ja ja ja.
Ja ja ja.
Pero de repente no me estoy riendo.
Porque yo miro de nuevo a la pared,
y miro a Joaquín,
en este lado del balancín,
de la moneda,
y el otro niño,
en el otro lado del balancín,
y al mismo tiempo
en un lado completamente diferente
de la moneda,
Cómo serían nuestras vidas
si viviamos allá?
Si las estrellas que brillan por encima
del otro lado de la barricada de odio
tendrían la coragen de brillar
con la misma fuerza
para nosotros también?
SI (English translation)
He doesn’t know what the wall means.
He doesn’t see the barbed wire or the agents and soldiers observing us
with their tasers and pistols.
He just sees the toy
a pink “balancín”
but I think on the other side they call it a “sisó”
and I laugh because it’s a very ridiculous name,
to them, we are a river.
They believe we only want to do bad to their cities.
That I’d sacrifice everything,
my entire world,
just to destroy theirs.
How ridiculous this is, and how ridiculous it is to call something a “seesaw”.
Ha ha ha.
Ha ha ha.
But suddenly I am not laughing.
Because I see the wall again,
and I see Joaquín,
on this side of the seesaw,
of the coin,
and the other boy,
on the other side of the seesaw,
and at the same time
on a completely different side
of the coin,
of the world.
How would our lives be
if we lived there?
If the stars that shine above
the other side of that barricade of hate
had the courage to shine
with equal force
on us as well?
mama woke me up today and said we’re going to visit a new place and I said where and she said meksiko but it sounded like a store at the mall and she knows i hate the mall so i started crying but she said no no it’s not the mall so it’s ok i’m ok now. she said meksiko is another country, like america, and it’s right in our backyard and we’re going to go as close to it as we can and i said why mama and she said she wanted to meet some friends and so she gave me strawberries cut up into little pieces with whipped cream on them just like she knows i like and we got in the car and i slept and then we were there and we got out of the car and she said go play on the seesaw and i said sure mommy and i went to the seesaws and even though they were bright pink and daddy says pink is for girls i went and sat on it.
i looked up on the other side of the big metal thingies like the teeth on a monster truck or a mega-robot from that one cartoon and i saw a kid come by to play too and when he got on the seesaw i went woooosh into the sky like a rocket! and we both laughed ha ha ha ha. i told him it was his turn to go woooosh but i think he might have that talking problem like that new kid miguel from school because i couldn’t understand what he said, like the words had been mixed into oatmeal and when you scooped them back out of the oatmeal they still had some of it on them and on the spoon like when I fish for the chocolate chips mom puts in mine.
the kid pushed down on the ground to go up he went kick kick kick but he didn’t move and neither did i. so i looked for mama but she was near the big metals thingies and she was crying she was yelling like i do when she makes me share my legos or when mrs. johnson sends me to time out for talking too much and mama’s with some other people holding up posters and she’s holding up that big poster she brought with her with the angry red words on it and why was she crying and she was yelling i didn’t do anything wrong did i? did I?
i didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want mama to get time out so I just looked down at the boy-my-age-who-i-think-has-miguel’s-lisp and he looked back up at me and we saw right past the bright pink paint on the wood and past the big metal rods with the rust and the tiny little red dots on them like when i spill cranberry juice on the floor and past the angry man with the green shirt and green pants that looked a bit like that dinosaur we learned about in class and the big gun he held in his big hands, like the nerf gun my big brother has but it looked real like from that one movie papa let me watch once with the zombees without telling mom and that gave me scary dreams for a month but there aren’t any zombees out here are there? and i was so scared and I kept looking I looked past the silence and the sad and the crying and we then were
and the seesaw wasn’t very fun anymore at all.
Luka Gawlinski Silva is a first-year in Grace Hopper College. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.