Kevin Gallagher

Fe Y Esperanza

Isais' pupils
contracted to the point

where it was hard to see
whenever he looked north.

He'd seen Dallas,
Dynasty, and Cheers.

He hoped he wouldn't be
like Sanford's son.

Would his hair
mane blonde but stand

still when his head
turned around?

His wife kissed.
His roll of money.

His clothes on.
He left.

He lived south of Reynosa.
His walk there was free.

His hand met
many others.

His returned empty,
their's returned green.

He entered a windowless van.
For four hours

he rode four blocks away
to the riverbank.

Isais rose his head
to see cranes

wing to his dreams
in two flaps.

Isais gave his last pesos
to the last masked man

who took his clothes
and let him dive into the river.

Isais and the river
swam brown.

Although pulled up
a mile south,

like Odyseus, Isais
washed up on his fifty yard dream;

exhausted and freckled with

He popped each sucker
from his skin

as if each was the cap
of a bottle of champagne.

Through the thicket
he saw the parking lots

he was told of;
their windshields

were a field of jewels.
He was here.

Their owners were there
hearing loud music,

seeing big churches,
not daring to eat anything,

but takings lots
of pictures.

He dragged himself

under the sea of cars;
popping his head out

looking left then right,
using each car

as a turtle shell,
then slinking to the next.

He rolled under
an open bottomed van.

He pulled himself up
and was handed

his finger to his lips,
a handshake,

a shirt,
and a pair of pants.


Kevin Gallagher has poems and prose forthcoming in canwehaveourballback?, Harvard Review, Jacket, and Partisan Review. He works as an international environmental economist at Tufts University.