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Lauro Vazquez

may 12, 2008

postville, iowa
"hundreds arrested in
iowa immigration raid:
for aggravated identity theft and fraudulent
use of social security
read the headline
in bright, bold accusing letters
that did not reveal
the knives doused in sparkle of blood
and biting at the slick skin
of skinny teenage laborers
weaving their fingers through threads of meat
with the precision of mayan astrologers;
or the marmalade of bones and toil and fingernails
illegal at the kosher meat plant;
the liquid measure
of the guatemalteco's winged feet-
the pair of quetzales that carried
his sad sunken weight
from guatemala to iowa;
that sailed across the waters,
through valley of thorns,
through brush of barbed wire, through thicket of iron fence;
through deep volume of gray ash and yellow sky.
or the
silver smiling mouth of steel
manacles clipped
to the wings on his ankles.
the cold metal vine that shackled the wrists, the waist and the feet.
the trail of stooped heads and hands
marched off like cattle to the slaughterhouse
of the national cattle congress
to be packaged, sealed and returned
from sun to sun,
from south to south
to hot landscapes of despair.
one more piece of immigrant-stained meat is bruised
and discarded; one more
thing without a name rolls to the desert ground
and evaporates under the sun,
one more
number is caught with a spanish-sounding surname and
thrown to the garbage heap of despair.

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