Two children and their mother hold hands.
The girl has dark hair and dark eyes
that have seen too much,
She holds her younger brother
with her left hand. He is smaller,
his brown skin dirty, eyes glazed,
his stomach empty, so long.
Her right hand holds her mother,
who whispered to her in the night,
“We are leaving here,
we will go where it is safe.”
Her mother’s lip is swollen, her cheek
bruised and purple,
her husband’s marks of ownership.
She walks slowly in the line.
When they come to the front,
she gives her name and her children’s names.
“Go ahead,” they say. “You may cross
the border.” In a moment of joy, hope, relief,
she squeezes her daughter’s hand.
As they walk across, an armed guard says
“Your children will need to go over to that building.”
“Without me? Why?”
“To be safe.”
“But they are with me. We are a family. I have relatives here.”
“Your children will have to go over there.”
The man reaches down,
tries to separate the hands,
the ones that have brushed back hair from eyes,
wiped tears from cheeks,
made food each day, covered them at night.
“They are mi familia, mi vida,” she pleads.
The guard takes them out of line,
to the side where no one can see.
He takes her arm and squeezes hard.
“This is the policy in this country.”
He wrenches hands apart.
He takes the children to the building,
pushing them along in front of him.
The sounds of voices calling and crying leak out
when he opens the door.
The mother covers her mouth with her hand.
Her daughter looks back at her,
accusing her, eyes becoming hard,
only a tear betrays her.
~I went to the protest against the separation of mothers and children,
putting the children in detention centers alone, in El Paso on Tuesday.
There were a thousand people in the long line. On Wednesday, an executive
order was signed to stop the separation. I can only hope the ones that have
already been separated will be reunited . . .