“Why won’t they stay inside?”

by Michelle Villegas Threadgould

Is what Norteamericanos

  ask Mexicanos

Like impatient parents

Aca lo que nos va a matar es la crisis

                                                                                                anarchists say

Literal Translation:
Here /hir/: Origin

What will kill us is the crisis

Non-literal Translation:
Aquí  /ä kē/: Origin

It’s not the virus but the economy that will kill us

That’s not what the Experts™ say

Sitting on el balcon de la Condesa
you see / they’ve seen

Once a week
they wander
the Mercado de la Merced
donde los ricos
gain admission
to be
salt of the earth

All it takes
to know / to experience / to live
is quince pesos / a dollar fifty

A dollar fifty
buys you a taco
spiced with sweat
and the taste
of a day’s worth of work

And so that woman
renting her stall
does not need
to make tacos / or tortillas
or traverse 30 miles
on foot / on metro / on bus
she has everything
she needs                                    in quarantine

Michelle Villegas Threadgould is a biracial, Chicana writer and poet who covers Latinx issues and resistant movements. Her work has been featured in CNN, Pacific Standard, KQED, New York Observer, and Latino USA. Seven of her essays were in the music anthology Women Who Rock, and her poems about Broken Borders were published in the Chachalaca Review. Bill Mazza is a visual artist using chance, duration, and accumulation to reinterpret landscape as a relationship of people to their mediated environments, through painting, performance, and community-building collaborations.

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