Poem by Melissa Nunez regarding the hostile treatment of Haitian migrants by U.S. Border Patrol Agents.
A grueling undertaking—gatekeeping threshold
of home and wild.
I tried to lead you, or someone
like you, back where you belong.
behind your body, both beyond your rightful being.
Attempted to head you off, turn you around,
but you scurried from my steps, escaping
It is too much to chase you—seek you out
concealed as you are now (somewhere, everywhere).
In this place you should not be.
Finally I find you, or someone like you,
beneath bone-white bars shelving mounds
of discarded garments.
as crusted clod of mucus cast to corner.
Crumpled flesh of festered fruit; Skin shriveled
to leaf-curled leather.
discolored, darkened. Your ultramarine green elapsed
to putrid pewter.
Rust red now necrotized copper.
Mouth sealed; eyes sucked dry.
Skull a solid husk
of wrongness: malnutrition, malformation, maladapted
to this place.
Digits splayed in rigid resistance: bent, brittle, broken.
Lint clinging claws and limbs; shed hairs coiling abdomen
I can see it all now, same story spent
once and again: thin skin, out and in, in rapid succession
Waiting for the world to look
a way in which you could survive.
Melissa Nunez is an avid reader, writer and homeschooling mother of three. She lives in the Rio Grande Valley region of South Texas—a predominantly Latin@ community. She writes both essays and poetry inspired by observation of the natural world, the dynamics of relationships, and the question of belonging. Her work has been featured in FOLIO, Yellow Arrow Journal, and others.
Image by Melissa Nunez, edited by Ren Koppel Torres