|Available from Nielsen Magic|
“Sir, we don’t use cages for children,” the DHS secretary said. “Yes. I’m being as clear as I can, sir. Respectfully, I’m trying to answer your question.”
“Just yes or no. Are we still putting children in cages?” [House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie] Thompson asked again.
“To my knowledge, [Customs and Border Patrol] never purposely put a child in a cage,” [Kirstjen] Nielsen stated.
—Salon, March 6, 2019
When the child first enters the cage,
The spaces in the chain-link are made of words.
The words are in Spanish, they read, jaula, carcel,
A series of synonyms meaning the same thing.
A child is also the child entering; one could
Make a cage out of anything. Even sunbeams.
The doorway, a gleaming nexus of rays,
the benches made of aurora borealis green,
and the child would be a child sitting on it, waiting
for the wound in her to heal with a parent’s touch.
There are many words, and also, there aren’t any others.
The immigrant is an outsider, an illegal, an alien.
Words on their own never show compassion.
Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems My Earthbound Eye in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.