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(Tijuana border, August 2016)

The fence is blistering steel mesh,

fine-grained, too hot to touch.

I must step back to see

an eye, a partial shadowed face.

No one steps back. On either side

split families cluster, close

as they dare to the blister point.

Far down the lines paired chaplains

murmur prayers at hand-held

microphones, echoed like waves

on shingle by two rucksacked crowds.

At Matamoros or Hidalgo

farther east the streets are sealed

with blood and cartridge shells.

The bleeding here is more

a silent kind.

It has grown dark.

The pre-recorded curfew notice bleats.

I turn. No one retreats.

Passager, 2019 Poetry Contest Anthology (Sept. 2019)

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