Temporary Protected Status

 [Image description: photograph of a wide city skyline at sunset. The sun seems to be directly above the highest buildings in the centre, and the light gradually fades from bright at the top to dark at the bottom of the image.]  SteffyWonder / Creative Commons

[Image description: photograph of a wide city skyline at sunset. The sun seems to be directly above the highest buildings in the centre, and the light gradually fades from bright at the top to dark at the bottom of the image.]

SteffyWonder / Creative Commons

Temporary

Things my body doesn’t remember now:

sardine cans.
eating a man’s last tangerine.
shrubs and weeds.
asking to catch a bunny for dinner.
a bridge at dusk.
another night, still not there.

 

Protected

Today the protesters will go on strike, pray, and fast.
Their leaders said we must take risks.
This is how to get noticed,
how to make noise. This is how we get saved.

But we are too old:
we were too old and too young to flee
countries, to outlive
earthquakes, hurricanes, rape, murder.

Later in the year, they will pack Thanksgiving turkeys.
They will clean the office
after the holiday party. Each time, grow old.

Today the protesters speak into cameras,
try to answer the reporters’ questions
with numbers, with stories, with English
picked up through the uncertain years.

And the reporters ask, why are you worthy of notice?

Why you?

 

Status

In the doctor’s office, the doctor examines my feet.
She doesn’t speak. I don’t tell her.

I don’t say how I use my feet or that I’ve walked to places —
to America. I don’t say I have a condition

how there is a border and a girl that won’t forget me
how she dragged her feet to live.


Claudia Rojas is a poeta from El Salvador. She holds a BA in English from George Mason University.  Find her poems in The Acentos Review, Poetry is Dead, and forthcoming in other literary venues. Find her on Instagram.