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Friday, July 06, 2018


by Jennifer Davis Michael

My son is white like me, the border far away.
According to his papers and my scar
where forceps dragged him earthward, he is mine.
We don’t discuss what’s happening down there
—I mean, down at the border. He’s just six.
He’s learning how to swim. A patient guard
shapes his flailing dog-paddle to a stroke
that might cross rivers. She lightly pins his feet
to bend his body to a diving arc.

“Far away from home, it looks like darkness”:
his random comment on the vegetation
we speed past on the way back from the pool.
He sleeps that night, surfacing only once
from nightmares of the house crumbling around us.
I guard the borders of his innocence,
my trigger-finger on the remote control.

Jennifer Davis Michael is Professor and Chair of English at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. Her poems have appeared previously in TheNewVerse.News and also in Mezzo Cammin, Literary Mama, Cumberland River Review, and Southern Poetry Review, among others.