Helen Speaks

           June, 2017

Tonight I will sit in the dark
people the wall of my sorrow

Roberto was a busser I was a server
he came to visit an aunt and stayed

he started talking and I tried
to ignore him he kept on talking

smiling and smiling and smiling
full of smiles and careful words

we got married had three kids
settled into a comfortable life

I wanted to understand the madness
the sad slouch of justice

we met in ’98 in Fort Wayne
years and years went by until

Eddie’s Steak Shed in Granger
we lived in Mishawaka

your husband is being detained
because he’s a fugitive they said

my husband’s not running
from you you didn’t come

knocking on our door I said
he came to you he’d been told

to leave in 2000 I was pregnant
and sick and so again he stayed

he’s been moved from Wisconsin
to Lousiana and more recently

El Paso Texas one night they
suddenly told him it was time

to get his stuff put him in the back
of a van sped for the border

he was dropped off forced
to walk to Mexico the children

eight-year-old Demetri fourteen-year-old
Jasmine sixteen-year-old Maria

are having a difficult time
since he’s been gone the restaurant

has received threatening calls
and angry letters pack your bags

and go to Mexico said one
earlier today staring in the mirror:

your skin is bitter like suffering
what have you done voting for trump

           with Andrés Montoya

From After Rubén (Red Hen Press, 2020) by Francisco Aragón. Copyright © 2020 by Francisco Aragón. Used with permission of The Permissions Company LLC on behalf of Red Hen Press, redhen.org.