U.S. Customs and Border Protection, June 21, 2013: A History Lesson for My Grandchildren (a found poem)

(CNN) Authorities found four human bodies abandoned in the Arizona Desert.

          Four human bodies: Well, at least they give you that: humanity after death, if not before.

          Abandoned: Left behind. Did the owners of these bodies just up and evaporate into the hot desert winds, seep into the sand molecule by molecule, strip off those dried, useless skins like so much excess weight? How careless of them.

          Arizona: Alĭṣonak, meaning “small spring,” in the language of Tohono O’odham, one of the seventeen or so indigenous tribal communities still living in that area.

The bodies were found near Gila Bend, Arizona, about 70 miles north of the border.

          Gila: Derived from a Spanish contraction of Hah-quah-sa-eel, a Yuma word meaning “running water which is salty.” Like tears?

They have not been identified, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said.

          Maricopa: “Maricopa” is from the Spanish word mariposa, meaning butterfly. It is believed that invading Spaniards imposed the name Maricopa on indigenous people, whose beautifully painted faces reminded the Spaniards of butterflies.

Immigrants often try to cross the Sonoran Desert’s harsh terrain, and there are many heat-related deaths, police said Thursday.

          Sonora: Perhaps a corruption of señora, as in Nuestra Señora de las Angustias, “Our Lady of Anguish,” whose image lost Spaniards carried with them in their pursuit of happiness in the form of gold. Perhaps a Spanish attempt at an indigenous word for a natural water well, sonot. Either way, a plea.

In the border region of Pima County, Arizona, deaths of unidentified migrants in the desert have become so common the Medical Examiner’s Office has helped create a website to track the deaths and assist family members searching for their loved ones’ remains.

          Pima: What Europeans called Akimel O’odham people at first contact. The short name, “Pima” is believed to have come from pi’añi mac or pi mac, meaning “I don't know,” an O’odham phrase used repeatedly in initial meeting with Europeans.

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators announced a proposal to add 20,000 more border agents, complete 700 miles of fence along the boundary with Mexico,and deploy $3.2 billion in technology upgrades similar to equipment used by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

          Bipartisan: A term for collective greed.

          Border Agent: A xenophobe’s wet dream.

          Fence: Another word for fear.

          $3.2 billion: Simple definition: hunger. Oh in so many ways.

          Iraq: An expletive, often uttered by politicians as a distraction.

          Afghanistan: A distinctly United Statesian verb meaning, “ain’t learned nothin’ yet.”

The proposed amendment, negotiated by a group of senators from both parties known as the “Gang of Eight,” is intended to ensure Senate passage of a major immigration reform bill with enough Republican support to persuade the GOP-controlled House to also take up the measure.

          Immigration Reform: Imagine barbed wire around Ellis Island and Plymouth Rock.

—Deborah A. Miranda
(published 4/1/13)

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