“Letter Found in a Crate” by Francis Santana

Francis Santana


Dear bor/der patrol officer,
you chased me into the
broi/ling land/scape. Fear
dro/ve me like the low

winds of a storm. I got
away with the uncla/imed
dust. I want to ap/ologize
for not gi/ving us a chance

to sit under the acacia
black/brush and talk about
what it means to be on the
inside of a line that mo/ves

like a fat belly. I wonder
what kind of wis/dom is
co/di/fied in/si/de your
han/dbook. Is there a

cata/log of lost ton/gues?
Are tribes tracked by the
displaced mile? Is there a
bla/ck/list for boys who

disregard space? But never
mind all this, I’m wri/ting
to see if we can find a way
to cha/ng/e the sa/me

old sto/ry. Let’s sit. We
have grown in/si/de each
other like the wood/worm.
But our daught/ers, th/ey

jump rope in the same
bac/ky/ard. Pe/rhaps, they
hold the key to what we
a/r/e. P/e/rh/ap/s, th/e/y

mean amplitude the way
we mean f/ence. I have to
go now, shou/ld start
picking all the ripe oranges.

from Rattle #56, Summer 2017

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Francis Santana: “When I was ten years old, I found Pablo Neruda gathering dust on a bookshelf—that’s when poetry became the only language I could speak to my first love. When that first love looked away I wrote to myself about solitude. When in that solitude I began to see my sisters and my brothers being carted away around me, I had to come out and speak up, to write beyond myself. I do get lost sometimes, mostly in the type of anger that supersedes tact and drowns the tenderness required to mend bullet holes. And the truth is I want to give up more often than not, but to hang back is not an option. I write to be heard, to keep away from extinction.” (twitter)

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