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DREAMers Mark Themselves

By Maricielo Ampudia Gutiérrez

The easiest people to deport are the DREAMers.
                   -- observation by a practical politician

With each finger, I pressed on black ink, and one by one placed them on the transmitting screen. Following instruction, I rolled each finger, left to right, and slow—every quarter inch of skin recorded. On the display, perfect fingerprints glowing. And for the picture, I stared straight, rose my back, in position, like how in my elementary school orchestra we sat at the edge of our seats and looked to the audience. Prove it, they said. Anticipating instruction, I took off my glasses so the camera could capture my eyes and the computer record their shape and place in relation to my nose and ears in relation to other’s noses and ears. Have me all! Click the camera! And I will sit, following instructions like my school pictures, twelve years of pictures. On the screen, the unchangeable face of mine glowing, like how I said the morning announcements, like how I led the pledge of allegiance. Raise your back, hand on heart, think of America and so I thought of America. The click of the camera. My performance, curtains flowing. Prove it, they said. On the screen, in cursive—my child-like signature made solemn. DREAMers mark themselves, our mired existence staining our fingertips. DREAMers mark themselves, in hopes of proving life like a second birth certificate. DREAMers mark themselves, thinking of America, the grassy fields of their schoolyard, my hand clutched to my heart, the dream I held against everything else, I now say prove it, America, prove it.




Listen as Maricielo Ampudia Gutiérrez reads "DREAMers Mark Themselves."

Added: Friday, July 17, 2020  /  Used with permission.
Maricielo Ampudia Gutiérrez

Maricielo Ampudia Gutiérrez was born in Lima, Peru, but was raised in Fairfax, Virginia. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University (GMU). She writes on feminism, animal rights, and the immigrant experience in the United States. She is a DACA student with the goal to represent, through writing and film, the differing and complex experiences of Latinas living in the United States, starting with her own. At GMU, Maricielo was the assistant editor for the Hispanic Culture Review and was part of the Poetry Daily team. She was also on the executive board for Mason DREAMers and the Vegan Society at GMU.

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