That time in the Mexican mountains,
I said I was being followed.
It wasn’t so much that you listened
(though I loved you for capturing that pic,
casually on the hiking trail,
then later in the cantina –
your face when you saw, yes,
it was the same blond woman
tagging along like a bad hangover).
It was that you believed me.

Someone finally believed me –
no arching eyebrow,
no tongue click,
no somber “I see.”
No, I wasn’t borderline crazy,
no, I wasn’t ordering up attention,
and no matter who claimed later
it was no big deal, or
it was just the State Department, or
she wanted to make sure I wasn’t a smuggler,
it meant more to me that you saw her, too,
trapped truth on camera,
so when next I worried I was losing my mind,
I could look and say, yes.
There’s the SD card.
There’s the evidence.
It isn’t illness,
and it isn’t my fault.

It’s not like I posted on Facebook,
hey! I’m headed to Valle!
Follow me on my journey!
It’s not like I tweeted on the toilet
some strange thirst to be spied on.
I didn’t do Instagram,
so no followers there,
no hashtags, no callouts,
no request for voyeurs or cyberstalkers,
no reality t.v.
No, just someone’s job to follow me,
watch what I was carrying,
paid to listen to my bad Spanish,
see how the trip panned out.

Yo quiero pan con queso, bitch.
What’s it to you?
I’m just here for the culture,
sipping wine and courtesy.
Maybe you need to rethink boundaries.
Maybe you need to find a real criminal.
Go back to your own country’s border,
run your hand along the wall.
Mind the splinters and shards,
this American dream.

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