by Jimmy Santiago Baca
The morning on the day we invaded Iraq I received an email
from an Iraqi soldier. He wrote
about his reactions to my book A Place to Stand,
commenting on the landscape, the horror of imprisonment
saying his brother was in prison under Saddam,
that he knew what hunger and sorrow were.
He added that Iraq was the cradle of language and literature
and that his culture had harvested language,
was in possession of the oldest books known
to mankind. Later that afternoon
I received another email from an American soldier
deployed and prepared to invade Iraq. He too
had finished reading my book
and he described how it reminded him so
much of Fresno, his friends meeting at the park
on Saturday afternoon flirting with the pretty Chicanas,
and how much he missed eating burritos and tacos.
That same day, both loving the book,
they raised their rifles against each other—
their views and hearts
as close as brothers could be.