FIRST IMPRESSIONS

by RAUL GALLARDO
(LEON, MEXICO)

If some foreign visitor shows the officer
he’s reading a book by Faulkner is he
treated better?
Or does that only apply in the south?

Perhaps in California I could show them
my hardcover edition of Grapes of Wrath
maybe Fitzgerald when entering New York

If you show them A Farewell to Arms could
you get them to smile while they secretly
wish you joined Hemingway in Paris?

Would they relate to something more popular
like Steven King, Nicholas Sparks or
Danielle Steel?

Do the officers have a preference between genres?

What about poetry? Will Bukowski cause my
deportation while Billy Collins saves me,
guaranteeing the officer I won't cause any
trouble?

It’s sad to recognize that in all these years,
all they ever cared, all they ever read were
the answers on my form. No one ever looked
at the book placed on their desk

Perhaps they were too busy looking for
terrorists. I still won’t give up an
opportunity to cause a good impression

Even if I’m holding Catcher in the Rye
I will take the risk of them revoking my visa

There must be at least one devoted believer
in Confederacy of Dunces and I intend
to find him



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