by Christiana Castillo

I have always known borders

Abuela told me about her parents

                        Mexico            warmth
How they left:             and
                        home               Jalisco

In secrecy
Traveled across lines           

            papeles                         Mexico
Held:                           onto
            each other                   oraciones

Found Detroit

I have always known borders

Momma told me about growing up
She told me about the Ambassador Bridge,
how it was so close to her house
she could always see it

I remember Brasil,

My sister and I memorized butterflies
would sing and shout “we are butterfly people, yes we are!”
chase something all too familiar
climbing into my parents’ bed asking:
Is today the day we go
to America?
As if Brasil being in South America wasn’t enough

Only a body of water between us
I knew the ocean
I knew warmth

On road trips,
my sister and I would get excited
when we learned we were in two places at once
Our father would count down
let us know how close we were to touching two states
We felt like we were
tricking geography


Maybe to know borders is

Maybe watching monarchs fly through
is a reminder

I have always known borders


Christiana Castillo is a Mexican-Brasilian-American poet, educator, and gardener born in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil and based out of the greater Detroit area. She is currently in graduate school at The University of Michigan studying secondary education, with a focus on English and English as Second Language. Previous work of hers can be found in Belt Magazine, The Acentos Review, Riverwise Magazine, and Alegria Magazine‘s Latinx Poetry Project. Her chapbook, Crushed Marigold, was published in 2020 with Flower Press.

The Roadrunner Review nominated Fronteras for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.