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Thursday, October 04, 2012


by Martha Deed

NACO, Ariz., Oct 3, 2012 - Investigators were scouring a rugged area near the U.S.-Mexico line looking for evidence in the fatal shooting of a Border Patrol agent. Nicholas Ivie and a colleague were on patrol in the desert near Naco, about 100 miles from Tucson, when gunfire broke out shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Border Patrol.
. . . The last Border Patrol agent fatally shot on duty was Brian Terry, who died in a shootout with bandits near the border in December 2010. The Border Patrol station in Naco, where the two agents shot Tuesday were stationed, was recently named after Terry. --Newsday/AP

a border patrol officer
a father’s son
rides one-lane dirt park paths
lights out on cliff edges
500-ft drops at midnight –
darkest nights the best
for finding backpacks,
shoes, human “sign” –
the moonlit nights the worst
for border hopping
in the high mountain desert
the worst for getting home alive

When you study medicine
every runny nose
is a sign of this week’s disease
and if a Border Patrol officer
patrolling a national park,
bird songs, butterflies,
and flowers are no longer
noticed or enjoyed, replaced by
surveilling –
each unauthorized path
each piece of litter
in the national forest:
suggests a possible crime

the legal tourists come
they are warned against
scorpions, rattlesnakes
lightning, floods and bears
and dirty people in business dress
crossing the mountains
only the latter need be reported

Montezuma Pass, elev. 6575,
Near Naco, Arizona

Author’s note: One of my stepsons was a Border Patrol Agent in 2008. He was stationed at Naco, AZ where both Brian Terry and now Nick Ivie were killed.  And -- he worked with both men.  Step-son resigned from the Border Patrol several years ago when a promise to move him to a less dangerous post did not happen. His father and I visited him in Naco, and I wrote a poem about it at the time.

Martha Deed lives in North Tonawanda, NY.  Her most recent book is The Last Collaboration, originally published online (Furtherfield, 2012), and now available in book form.  The Last Collaboration is a mixed-genre story of her daughter Millie Niss's encounters with health care in the final year of her life, presented as Millie would have wanted it to be done.  Companion piece to City Bird: Selected Poems (1991-2009) (BlazeVox, 2010) by Millie Niss, edited by Martha Deed. Martha Deed has previously published at The New Verse News.