Tracks in the Sonoran Desert
Photo: Ryan Connell

The border of Mexico
is exactly 
1,006 miles away 
from the hospital 
where I was born.

Which means that 
had I been born, 
1,007 miles 
to the south
my destiny would be 
aligned under very 

I had no say 
in being born.
I was not let in 
on the plans 
for time and place.

Let alone 
color and name
which God to worship
which wars my ancestors won 

Yet those 1,006 miles 
Bestow me with 
a blessedness
a chosenness
inalienable rights.


I stumbled into the virtue
Of being American.
Close call too.
Just 1,007 miles
and I’d be 
maybe a rapist
or a criminal
certainly not their best.


133 years before my birth
a treaty was signed for that
first dirt I’d see.
Before that
just Mexico all around. 

69 years before my birth
Another piece of paper
decreed the dust
from which I came
the 47th state
of this united America.

New Mexico.
Newer better Mexico.

My state.
Grabbed by my 
tiny hand
As I manifested my destiny 
from the womb.

My state
which was not a state
until white skin
outnumbered brown
chosen nearly last
of all continental soil.
Uncle Sam’s unsightly step-daughter
now redeemed
washed white as wool.

1,006 miles.
133 years.
White skin.

What grace.
What fortune.
What chance.
My birthright.
I earned it.
I created it.
It’s mine.
You can’t have it.
It’s mine.

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