Sylvia Riojas Vaughn


On Migration from Mexico
                                By Sylvia Riojas Vaughn

         They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.
         From Woody Guthrie’s Plane Wreck at Los Gatos,
         also known as Deportee.

They drown in the Rio Grande.
Or thirst to death
inside eighteen-wheelers.
If they make it past the wall,
the wall that separates
my grandmother’s family from mine,
they may die on the job:
     −crushed in caved-in trenches,
     −falling from rooftops,
     −struck by a motorist.
The boss figures replacing
what’s-his-name will be easy.
But what joy in a life filled
with fear of being sent back?
How is it to tremble, anxious
you’ll be separated from your children,
Americans by birth?
I write my congressman
and senators:  Let them sing
this is their land.
I get form letters back:
They steal jobs.
They threaten security,
use up water,
carry TB.
They deserve
no song.






Sylvia Riojas Vaughn will have a poem appear on San Antonio’s VIA Metropolitan Transit vehicles as part of Poetry on the Move celebrating National Poetry Month, April 2013.  She was selected as a Houston Poetry Fest Juried Poet in 2011 and 2012.  She was a presenter at the Eastfield College Literary & Fine Arts Festival in 2012.  Her poems appear in Texas Poetry Calendar 2013, Poetry at Round Top 2012, FORCES 2012, Elegant Rage: A Poetic Tribute to Woody Guthrie, From Under the Bridges of America: Homeless Poetry Anthology, The Applicant, and Illya’s Honey.  Her poem, Tres Vestidos de las Muertas, has been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart Awards by Red River Review.She also has been nominated for a Best of the Net. Excerpts from her poetry were used in the play Calliope’s Rampage.  Her own play, La Tamalada, was produced in Fort Worth; two others, La Piñata and Kit’s Dreams, have received staged readings.