Las Fronteras (Borders)

I ride in the open air cab of a run-down pickup truck
bouncing side to side
the ends of my hairs awakened
to the rush of the cloud-forest’s fog
our Quechua-speaking driver winds his way around overgrown mountains
deep within there is a fiery force

It warms the water I waddle on
floating in misty hot springs
stuck in a foggy dream
a steel drum beat simmering from the poolside pub
a common cast of characters with beers in hand
beneath giant ferns fanning us from cliffs overhead
they come from Francia and Estados Unidos and Argentina
bouncing around this rock we call home
it was possible I had met one of them before
in caves out West or maybe in Italy’s natural pools

moments blur
we trade names, then tales
revelling in our freedom, sharing an observation, or a tip
for how to get here to there and what it should cost
if you don’t get blindsided
speaking the dialect of a diaspora that knows no borders
soon we’ll be home

Workers whistle
smirks on faces, sledgehammers in hand
as our pickup truck weaves its way through traffic
made of feral dogs
and six year old kids walking themselves home from school
through a pueblo full of peeling paints of political propaganda
lined with stoic old women carrying bags and baskets
and heaps
on their heads
full of hand woven dresses
of more colours then I knew before
the workers whistles echo in my head

How had it come to be?
That foreign place where dogs are walked upon tightly kept schedules and routes
and kids are dropped door to door for soccer practice and piano lessons
prevented from leaving their houses without close supervision
and old women spend their final days watching soap operas on repeat

While they pay their life savings for coyote smugglers
to pack them into unmarked cube vans
to jump fences
to trek through desserts
to run from border guards
to hopefully work minimum-wage jobs in rednecked Texas
to likely be deported a few weeks later

While my country steals their gold, silver, and bronze without a moment’s remorse
as if this weren’t part of a centuries long pillage
aided by the IMF, World Bank, and international alphabet soup,
helping fund my next vacation
to see more of the land than many locals ever will

I would give them my passport if I could
but that would not be accepted by Border Patrol
not even should they want to go for a brief vacation
I though will be here as I wish
not a question asked
floating in a foggy dream