Caravan, caravan,
caravan of tired, poor,
huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
wretched refuse surging inexorably toward the Rio Grande.
Caravan of foreigners, others,
alleged Middle Easterners and the like
proceeding toward the prophylactic border
of the virginal lily-white nation.
Troops sit out there on the border,
away from their families on Thanksgiving,
no combat pay, no electricity in their makeshift tents.
Hurry up and wait.
Age enough, wrinkle enough,
amass enough adipose tissue around
the sad, sagging, deadweight belly,
the kettlebell gut your faltering metabolism long ago failed.
Grow dead enough in the eyes
and dull enough in the mind,
and you’ll start to fear every other they trot out,
every other trumpeted on the faithful cable station
that bleats like a stalwart mountain goat.
Diminished, stooped, a shadow of your former self,
you’ve got no other real friends.
Your kids don’t call.
Your Facebook posts hang out in the indifferent void,
unliked, unacknowledged, unloved.
You’ve only got the stultifying drip-drip-drip
of the morphine IV on the flat screen,
whatever poison it pumps into your ready veins.

Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, an Indiana University graduate and a Pushcart Prize nominee. He was poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest. He is published in more than 100 journals, including The Raven's Perch, Gravel, The Offbeat, and Tipton Poetry Journal.