Our poetry page features poems from established poets as well as new poems from Kristie Anderson’s English class at Summit High School in Jackson, Wyoming.
What’s the Difference?
by Victoria Muñoz
Summit High School
There’s the school bus or a car
Taking me to school, free of charge
I learn without a care in the world
And I sit here saying I’m bored
But you’re over there walking miles to get to school
You learn because you want to renew
Renew crossing the border to save yourself
America is freedom and it’s not your fault that you need help
But your family can die or go to jail every coyote that they call
The hope and goal is to cross that wall
A scholarship or card can erase your chances of death
And coming to America with no worries can be kept
Is it harder for you to get a card?
‘Cause it takes me a month to get my passport and I can leave the U.S. and go so far
I’m an American citizen and don’t understand the joy of what that means
Immigrants aren’t aliens, they just want what we want, the American Dream
We take all this freedom and privilege for granted, when that’s what makes me, me
I’m a spoiled, middle class teenager that’s never had to work a day in my life
But that’s not what I see, I’m normal, as normal as they get
We have the right to fight for what we want, for what’s right
I want to fight for women, gays, and most importantly immigrant rights
They have the right to get paid as much as we do
They have the right to get a good education
They have the right to come to America
They have the right to opportunity and second chances
They should have the right to push for the American Dream
They’re just like you and me
by Ofelia Zepeda
Passing below the sacred peak,
here prayers signified by rosary beads are futile.
Calling on the Virgin Mary is useless.
Instead, one must know the language of the land.
One must know the balance of the desert.
One must know how to pray
so that all elements of nature will fall into rhythm.
These are the kinds of prayers that will work.
Once uttered, the sacred mountains respond with coolness,
with gifts of wetness,
with gifts of civility of climate.
Empty plastic bottles are collected
from the desert floor,
replaced with ones filled with water.
In another location blue flags are raised in the desert,
signaling the location of water.
Signaling a chance for survival.
Flags recognizable by heat-demented minds.
The O’odham roamed the desert
with precarious steps.
Keeping an eye on the horizon, moving,
seemingly becoming a part of the heat and dryness
of their landscape.
They walk knowing the heat and aridity of their namesake place.
Never experiencing a mirage of running water,
swaying palms at a cooling oasis.
Never needing plastic bottles, flags to guide them
to water places.
They knew the trails leading to water.
They knew the natural water tanks
always with names like, Hodai Son Wo’o, “Rock Pond.”
These rock ponds later labeled “tinajas”on maps.
Labeled, the rock ponds offer no water sanctuary
for those crossing the desert unprepared.
Ironically, it may have been their distant ancestors
who put these water places on maps.
Instead, in the heat of the desert they rely on rosary beads
and calling the Virgin Mary.