AuthorEspada, Martin

Tornillo ... has become the symbol of what may be the largest U.S. mass detention of children not charged with crimes since the World War II internment of Japanese Americans.

--Robert Moore, Texas Monthly

Praise Tornillo: word for screw in Spanish, word for jailer in English, word for three thousand adolescent migrants incarcerated in camp.

Praise the three thousand soccer balls gift-wrapped at Christmas, as if raindrops in the desert inflated and bounced through the door.

Praise the soccer games rotating with a whistle every twenty minutes so three thousand adolescent migrants could take turns kicking a ball.

Praise the boys and girls who walked a thousand miles, blood caked in their toes, yelling in Spanish and a dozen Mayan tongues on the field.

Praise the first teenager, brain ablaze like chili pepper Christmas lights, to kick a soccer ball high over the chain link and barbed wire fence.

Praise the first teenager to scrawl a name and number on the face of the ball, then boot it all the way to the dirt road on the other side.

Praise the smirk of teenagers at the jailers scooping up fugitive soccer balls, jabbering about the ingratitude of teenagers at Christmas.

Praise the soccer ball sailing over the barbed wire fence, white and black like the moon, yellow like the sun, blue...

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