Lights blaze from above day and night, but give none of the sun’s warmth. Around me the littlest ones grab onto the metal fence, cry out “Mama,” “Papa,” and look up into the eyes of strangers in brown shirts who laugh at their terror. I will give the brown shirts no such satisfaction. My eyes turn inward and I am back in the bedroom I share with my older brother Ramon. My grandmother cooks huevos revueltos with carnitas for breakfast and sings the songs of our land learned at the knees of her grandmother. Mama calls for us to get up. We mustn’t be late for school. Papa comes into the room. You study hard today. Make your Mama and me proud, si? He kisses us both on our foreheads before going to the fields. His body is still not found by the time we must flee. Ramon, just thirteen, but the man of the family now, gives himself up to del Cártel de Juárez near Chihuahua so that Mama and me may pass free.
They said they were taking me for a bath.