This episode is brought to you in collaboration with FeMN Fest, an unapologetically feminist festival in Duluth, MN. Get your tickets or learn more at femnfest.com
First, let me apologize for my disgusting voice in the intro. Like I mention, it’s my feminist duty to be as pathetic as possible during this cold because women are so rarely allowed to be sick. So I’m sniffling out the patriarchy, one Sudafed at a time.
As fate would have it, today’s guest is also our first guest essay contributor. Page Zenner is a technical writer, translator, and poet from Houston, Texas. In lieu of an essay, you’ll hear her read her poem about political trauma, entitled Terror Through the Mirror.
Our interview was inspired by the horrifying news regarding children in immigration detention centers in Page’s hometown Houston. Page’s family immigrated from Venezuela when she was 12 to flee from Hugo Chavez’s fascist regime. In our chat, she describes her experience as an older child in the immigration process and the ensuing trauma that she’s felt since then. The recent political climate, especially in Houston, has only exacerbated these feelings and reopened those wounds. Her family now helps other Venezuelan refugees integrate into the community but it’s still a difficult and troubled process.
I am so grateful for Page’s insight on these matters. We wanted to record this as the news about the Houston detention centers came to light, but couldn’t fit it into our busy schedules. Luckily, we both agreed that immigration policy and immigration trauma are important issues, no matter what the news cycle tells us and we need to have ongoing conversations about our borders and our immigrant friends and neighbors.
Want to support immigrant communities? Start with RAICES
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Terror Through the Mirror by Page Zenner
look at my reflection in the mirror, and look a soldier used to terror, I am focused and calm. If there is an environment around me, my senses cannot register it. With all my strength, I dig my nails into my chest since I know it is best to get it over with.
The skin tears apart and blood gushes out, so I quickly stick my hand into my heart. I find the bullet, but unable to pull it, I am just at a loss. If there were any screams, my brain failed to register them at all.
With surgical precision, I stitch up the hole. I know the dimensions and make of that bullet, and it is not comforting, but there is a war outside. One little bullet. One big war.
And when I step outside, there are people left and right. Some are crying or running for shelter, but one person stops to ask about my stitches. I absentmindedly feel them and reply: “Will I make an ugly sight?” But they are far gone by now, and there are explosions all around.
And yet still another person asks me if I think it will leave a scar. I’m only seconds wiser, but I say: “So what?”