Consider the migrants at our southern border:
their terrified hustle as they plunge into the Rio Grande,
the concern they have for each other, the hand
extended to guide another hand, the fevered swerve
of the head. Peligro! The concertina wire will gouge them,
rip their skin. Make sure mi madre has made it across.
Not that she may be naked, but that a backpack
grinds her shoulders, worldly goods shrunken
and crushed. In every muscle and sinew, the desire for life
without fear, without bone tiredness and rage at being seen
less than human. Reading you, William Carlos Williams,
we are propelled into the horrors from our border, confused
by interviews with pols, their cowardice. But not reconciled.


Claire Keyes is the author of two collections of poetry: The Question of Rapture and What Diamonds Can Do. Her chapbook, Rising and Falling, won the Foothills Poetry Competition. A second chapbook, One Port, was recently published by Derby Wharf Light Box. She is Professor emerita at Salem State University.