The Ensenada Situation


The white van crashed through the flimsy barrier,
rocking like a rowboat on high seas,
the rutted road swayed the van up, down and sideways.
The passengers held tight - quiet and scared.
The tall brush obscured the van on this lonely Mexican road.
Hours passed, the air cooled, muscles relaxed from
exhaustion, the anticipation of a meal and a bed.
We arrived at the farm, an orphanage by the sea.
For the next two weeks, us well-meaning
suburban, middle-class kids from SoCal
would hammer and lift, sort and bend,
and avoid the wrath of the minister.
Each night, I collapsed on the top bunk,
every joint and sinew screaming.
One afternoon, I slipped away for a smoke.
The minister located me sitting on a boulder,
proceeded to scold and lecture about my vice.
I wasn't buying it - I was an adult, however young.
Sunday morning found us in the little wooden chapel,
sunshine illuminating colorful stained-glass.
The spirited, teenage band played guitars and drums.
And all my aches from the past week dissolved
with the site of the baby orphans beaming.

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