(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)