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Operation Wetback, 1953

Diana García

The day begins like any other day.
Your daughter soaks a second diaper,
chortles as she shoves her soft-cooked egg
to the floor. Knees pressed to cracked linoleum,

you barely notice as your husband strokes
your belly. Mijo, he croons, prophetic plea,
then squeezes your nalgas as if to gauge
for ripeness. As he edges past, you notice

how his blue shirt blurs against the summer sky,
how sky absorbs his patch of blue, then empties.
Moments later, a truck groans, moves on,
carting rumblings of men headed for the fields.

Years later, you tell your son and daughter
of that anguished day, how green card migrants
vanished from the camps. You tell your children
how news gripped the camps of trains headed south

loaded with wetbacks. You never tell your children
what you can’t forget: how you failed to squeeze back,
failed to wave good-bye, failed to taunt him
with viejo sinvergüenza. You never tell your children

how you forget this one man’s voice—a voice
that brushed your ears, your hair, a path down your back—
a voice that blends with sounds of a truck
that never brought him home.