Writing: ‘Todos Estan Solos’ by Melanie Polanco

This piece placed second for high school writing submissions in the Ánimo Voices Writing and Art Competition, which invited students to consider a change they’d like to see in their community or the world and to convince an audience, through any genre of writing or visual medium, of the importance of this change. The competition was an opportunity to motivate, recognize, and celebrate our strong student voices through writing and art.

Todos Estan Solos

It has been ten days since everyone was separated from their parents.
I am in an enclosed space with many other children.
From toddlers to teens like myself, we are all stilled in.
We don’t know where our parents are.
The frigid air and ambiance takes over my body.
Todos estan solos.

A loud shout comes from a tall man in an ICE uniform, ordering us to all follow him.
Some don’t understand what he’s saying, since it’s in English.
Some don’t understand what he’s saying, because they’re just too young.
The man’s voice rung through the building as the children were overstrung.
Todos estan solos.

They order us to go into white, dirty buses.
They manage to stuff all of us in there.
On the ride to our unknown destination, some cry silently.
Others sob quietly, their tears dried on their cheeks.
The silence takes over our forlorn bodies.
Todos estan solos.

We arrive at a big metal gate with a lot of people on the other side.
They push us out of the bus, everyone holding onto each other.
Everyone on the other side seems to be as distressed as we are.
A little girl starts yelling at the sight of her mother.
Many parents on the other side approach the gate as the ICE people yell for them to stay back.
Todavia, todos estan solos.

My eyes widen as they’re met with my mother’s lifeless, tired eyes.
She’s sitting down on a bench, and she slowly gets up as she realizes who I am.
Life suddenly fills her gaunt figure and she runs to the gate, screaming my name.
The ICE men open the gates and let us return to our families.
My mom and I run to each other as we are reunited.
Ya no estoy sola.

But, some children don’t know where to go.
Their parents are no longer here.
Some parents have given up and just left,
Left hopeless in thought that they’ll never be with their children again.
Todavia, algunos ninos estan solos.