It might seem I’ve turned my back you. That I’m deliberately trying not to blend. Make us target out in the open, where the murky, lazy waters of the Rio Grande sullied all but the bundle tightly wrapped of the dress I’ll wear in a land forbidden. I will walk with my head up, shoulders back, where day runs into night. I know how to tell time from patches in the ground. I will not lurk past la migra.
As a child I had slept like a comet. Laced up my exhaust. Awoken roaring-in-the-works, streak the late-night women who climbed into the late-night worn vans for their late-night shifts at the maquiladoras, our mothers among them. Do you remember how the women would cry out and accuse one another, pinch each other in return? Do you remember their sudden laughter ringing like church bells and the driver looking in the rear-view mirror, disapproving?
Now at the river’s edge, I am half-grown, with wild hair like mossy river plants, a woman who would fan this headdress to the dare the hurricanes to scatter her across oceans. La Migra has been tracking for sign for years. I will not be careful with my footprints. I lost my fear long ago.
I am not turning my back on you. I will not let the man with the big truck hide us between the seats like loose change, or start us as stolen from the beginning. Make us imitate the burlap in the corner. Beg to be broken in. My hair is still wet from the river, the air is a fine mist settling on my skin and the inches of this cotton. I bare my back, under an arch of gentle thunder and uncertain sky.
Follow me, and we will consume their quarreling torches, the hungry headlights that track us deep into every night and every storm. We’ll uproot the pitchforks in their hands with our unspoken secret that is older than language and grows on both sides of the river. It knows nothing of borders. Follow me and we’ll walk until we find eternal evergreens that hide every shadow, we will find the first primordial storms are unearthed from kettle drums, long buried in the vistas of the first desperadas who dared.
Rosebud Ben-Oni is a member of New Perspectives Theater, which produced her play Quimera on the Storm in September 2010. Her essay “On Writing Quimera and other Fears,” in which she explored the Mexican/Mexican-American relationship in wake of Arizona’s recent immigration policy, will be presented at "Practicing Theory”: The 2011 ASCA International Workshop in March 2011 in Amsterdam, and the PCAACA joint conference in April 2011, in San Antonio. In March 2011, “The Amaranthine Thread” dedicated to the late playwright Leah Ryan, will be part of Georgetown Theatre Company's SWAN Day 2011 Play Reading Marathon. Rosebud is also a co-editor for Her Kind at VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.