Wednesday, August 18, 2004

New England Honors Guatemalan

Volunteers tell me that the man who’s been sitting among the boots for twenty minutes is a former Marine, a Gulf War Vet. I approach, slowly, in the way that one learns over time spent among the boots. At first, he doesn’t answer. I come back later, and stand nearby. He’s muttering to himself: “There’s been enough killing.” He says that this, the numbers here, are nothing to what the reality must be. He says he was on the ground in Gulf War I, and saw the reality through his own eyes. “There’s been enough killing.”

A Guatemalan immigrant woman remarks in Spanish that there is only one pair of boots for a Guatemalan, an immigrant who joined the Marines with the promise of citizenship for himself and his family. His boots rest between Georgia and Hawaii. She returns with roses, which she places in his boots “so that he won’t be alone.”

from Noah Merrill


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