Issue 1
Lo Prohibido

Lo Prohibido

ICE states its mission: to protect national security, enforce immigration laws, fight crimes and terrorist activity.

In Manhattan, the phone woke me.
My daughter, Olivia, called from Oakland,
told what José, her fourth-grade student,
told her that morning. Face flushed, eyes wide,
he spoke only Spanish, el idioma
en que pudo decir lo prohibido.
On his way home from César Chávez Elementary School
in Richmond, the migra called ICE, asked,
Who in your house has no papers? 
I’m a citizen, born here, the boy said.
As José arrived home,
the migra burst in,
dogs straining on leashes.
The boy’s eyes fixed
on jaws, snarls, white teeth.
His family has papers,
but, in five days, José will be sent
back to Mexico, where he’s never been,
the walk home from school without dogs.

Renato Rosaldo has published three books of poetry, Prayer to Spider Woman / Rezo a la mujer araña (winner of the American Book Award, 2004), Diego Luna’s Insider Tips (Many Mountains Moving, 2012), and The Day of Shelly’s Death (Duke University Press, 2014).