By Robert Neustadt, Northern Arizona University
Crossing the Line
Little children cross the line.
legions of children,
seeking the love of a mother,
a father, a place to be.
A place where you can eat.
A place where you can stare at your feet,
or clouds that look like bunnies,
and not have to worry that
they’ll cut your throat,
or rape your sister,
or rape you and
cut your sister.
Thoughts. Thoughts of nine year olds?
Such are the thoughts of little children
riding the train, with hungry bellies,
cutting lines across thousands of miles,
riding rails on top of box cars.
Miles and miles and, yes, occasionally smiles.
Dreams of mami. feel the wind, it feels like we’re flying.
Rails of worry, wheels of Beast.
Don’t sleep, they’ll throw you off.
la bestia will suck you in and slice off your legs.
Swim the river, cross the desert,
Find the Migra, find Mamá.
We’re here, we made it,
the United States!.
Have we arrived?
New York, is near?
Cages. Children in little cages.
It’s like the zoo with children-as-animals--
sad young polar bears, locked inside refrigerated cages in a desert zoo.
No children with balloons on strings,
no squeals of laughter, no organ grinder music.
Just kids, never-smiling, inside cages.
This is no American Dream,
rather another segment of an endless nightmare.
Green-clad agents watch, with guns
on their belts, and tasers and clubs,
they guard the little brown children,
have the right
to stare at their feet,
to find happy dreams in clouds,
Thousands of children crossed a line of water and sand.
Do we really want to hold that line?
Incarcerate children like dogs in the Pound?
Do we really want to cross that line
from human to inhumane,
shifting in shape from human to soulless steel-gutted beasts?