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  • Jennifer Torres Alcántara


I still remember the fear

I felt

every time

I went to pick them up

for the first time

not always knowing

their names

their home country

if they were sick or healthy

if they had hair full of lice

or they were clean

if their shoes were tattered or


if they would be talkative

or silent

if they would be scared

or excited

to come home with me

I always rushed to prepare

the house for them

their room, with beds made

outlet protectors placed

stuffed animal resting on their pillow

handmade signs of


traditional food stocked

mangoes, cojita, frijoles, arroz

Spanish children’s music in the car

car seats and boosters ready

sweat and rushing

the hallmarks of my day

and I was scared

I was praying

I was terrified

until I saw them

waiting for me

with backpacks on

stuffed animal in hand

shaking my hand

and telling me their names

and that was it

my heart

though pounding

was ready to receive them

into my home

and into

my life

by Jennifer Torres Alcántara

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