on being afraid to talk about one’s identity or immigration status via poetry….


“[Marcelo Hernandez Castillo] said he began writing poetry without talking about his identity or immigration status because he was afraid. It was only in the past seven years that he even wrote the word ‘I’ in a poem. ‘Now, I feel like I’m giving myself permission.’

“In his prose poem, ‘Field Guide Ending in Deportation,’ Mr. Castillo confronts the questions: ‘Am I enough? When is it going to be enough?’ he said. ‘When I came undocumented into this country, I wanted to learn English so that I could be considered ‘enough.’ But after this terrible year, it’s been solidified in me that maybe, that’ll never be reached. It’s a very sad poem.’”

New York Today: The Poetry in Politics – Alexandra S. Levine – New York Times – August 4, 2017

Field Guide Ending in a Deportation

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

I confess to you my inadequacies. I want to tell you things I do not know about myself. I’ve made promises to people whom I will never see again. I’ve cried in an airport bathroom stall in El Paso, TX when immigration denied my father’s application. It felt like a mathematical equation—everything on one side needed to equal everything on the other. It almost made sense to be that sad. I am not compelled to complicate this metaphor.

Read rest of poem 


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