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Saturday, July 26, 2014


by Phyllis Wax

Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas June 18, 2014.
--REUTERS/Eric Gay/Pool 

fifty thousand in less than a year
scarred, scared
stomachs gnawing

to escape violence
there’s no hiding from at home,
in the neck between the Americas,
surviving the trek
through endless Mexico
and now

they sleep on a warehouse floor
in Nogales
sprawled in
the myriad positions
children sleep in—
snuggled to a sibling
arm or leg
flopped supine, mouth agape—
detainees of a resistant state

The soft sighs of their breathing            
warm the cold cement they lie on

while lawmakers want to
send in the National Guard

Phyllis Wax muses on the news and politics from a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, WI.  She's been widely published, recently in The Widows' Handbook:  Poetic Reflections on Grief and Survival from Kent State University Press.  When she's not writing you might find her escorting at a local women's clinic.