Take Me to the Ghetto

To My Home in the Desert,

Take me back into your embrace.  Save me from this urban catastrophe.  Forgive me for the years I spent plotting to escape your quiet nights of coyote howls and croaks of frog.  I’m coming back just for the weekend, but you can keep me longer if you will.  Stash me behind the school on the hill.  Wrap me below your warm sands or grant me refuge under those cumbersome boulders like you do with the snakes.  Only there am I safe from the clutches of this monstrous city.  I sought respite in the homes of my tias and uncles, but, like the Other Mother’s hand, this place came searching for me.  Forgive me for running to what I thought would be bigger and better than your humble offerings.  Forgive me for turning to this city the way Coraline turned to her Other Mother.  Now that I have come and seen this spectacular city, I can see for certain the abundance you offered me.  Take me back to those cold winter mornings of frosted roofs and mountain shadows.  Obscure me in that early morning mist.  I want so badly to see once more the bats that come out at dusk and the hills colored pink and orange by the descending sun.  Return me to those warm summer nights of playing hide and seek in the dark park and kissing stars.  With looming buildings and omnipresent lights, I can hardly see the stars in the sky above here.  From the window of my penthouse dorm, I can see just a sliver of ocean, but it pales in comparison to the vast swaths of sky just over the backyard brick wall.  Like Little Mr. Humpty Dumpty, I once sat upon the wall, watching the eastern horizon transition from blue to a soft purple while the west turned into a fiery conflagration.  Then, I, too, fell off that wall and shattered without a way back over.  Take my hand in my time of need, won’t you?  Take me to the lake and hide me below the trees that swing low.  Let the waves pull me in and wash me back up only when they’ve stopped searching for me.  To snatch me up with ghastly bear claws and drag me back to this city.  Hold on tight to my withered hand, won’t you?  Anchor me close to where the only eyes are of the hawks by day and owls by night.  There are eyes everywhere here, both human and not. Deliver me once more to the ghetto I no longer know.  My whole body aches for that tender Walmart behavior.  For the Ross where people fight with the employees while I’m trying to find a shirt for homecoming.  I beg of you to help me find a way to buy more time in your safe haven.  What if I hid in the back of the water store or slipped into La Michoacana next door?  Hide me in that city where my skin, loved on all over by the sun, doesn’t embolden people to question my ability to understand English.  In that city where my brown hair, skin, and eyes don’t interlock with my bilingualism to label me as a foreign threat.  Keep me close when I’ve strayed so far from you.  I won’t be home forever, so won’t you allow me back onto your protective streets?  Even if it’s for this weekend alone, won’t you grant me another glimpse into a time now gone?

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