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  • Jennifer Torres Alcántara

Passages: Pepinos

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

Severe trauma.

That’s why their mom brought them here.

To be safe, to start afresh,

in a land 3,000 miles away from home

Sometimes, during dinner,

in between bites of pepinos and pizza.

They would casually tell us bits of the why and the how

of their past, that would just fall out

of their mouths along with their food.

One night, I asked her why she didn’t bring her glasses with her to the US.

It seemed like a simple question,

during a simple dinner.

“Well”, she said.

“When the police raided our house during the night,

we had to leave everything behind.

Our pets,

our clothes,

our everything,

and I forgot my glasses,

and we never went back.


“Oh”, I say,

“that must’ve been hard and sad,”

and they would look at me.

With eyes looking,

but hearts sealed

behind closed doors,


As they munched pepinos and asked for more pizza,

like we were discussing nothing significant

that exploded their lives forever,

causing them to leave their country,

their everything,

and never go back.


by Jennifer Torres Alcántara

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