Abigail Carl-Klassen is a poet, writer, educator, translator and activist. Raised in a rural community in the Texas panhandle, she relocated to the U.S.-Mexico border where she worked for many years in El Paso in community development and public education. She has done ethnopoetic work with migrant workers, Old Colony Mennonite communities in Mexico and Texas, social workers, homeless communities, immigrant communities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and most recently, with Central American migrants and asylum seekers in Mexico.
Her work has been published in English and Spanish and has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Catapult, Guernica, Willow Springs, Cimarron Review, Aster(ix), Kweli, Matter, and Huizache, among others. She has been anthologized in IMANIMAN: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands (Aunt Lute) and New Border Voices (Texas A&M University Press), among others, and is a staff writer at Poets Reading the News.
She earned an MFA from the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual Creative Writing Program, taught at El Paso Community College and the University of Texas El Paso and is currently completing a full-length ethnopoetic collection.
Take that eyebrow pencil away from that girl
in the Oakland Raiders jacket. With her ear
holes pulled open by fake silver hoops, a smack,
tat against her neck. And she’s about to tell some
bitch to get up out of her business. You know
that you should take it, by the way she drags
her black, week-old press on nails into the back
of that kid in the sideways cap. With his Dickies
hanging off his ass down to his work boots. She
hooked him up in a temporary position with
Southwest Staffing Solutions. Where people are
our business. Part-time. And he works with power
drills, spray paints, paint brushes, but no safety
glasses. He doesn’t take them home, though,
to show his cousin with the Kool-Aid moustache,
because he knows. That he would show Chapo
how to hold the can in his hand. With his finger
on the trigger. And blow the brains out
of everybody that says he’s good for nothing
but jail. Oye, this arte is not beautiful, it throws
up and bleeds. Broken teeth, dirty needles, spent
condoms, and tall boys with bullet holes: under
overpass bridges, crack houses, the back door
of Family Dollar, and on the front of Early Head
Start. And everywhere else white walls get
jumped because they just aren’t tough enough.