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Thursday, August 01, 2019


by Angie Minkin

Two days after he read this poem critical of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) before the Kern County Board of Supervisors in California, Jose Bello, a father, farm worker, and Bakersfield College student, was arrested by ICE. The ACLU sued. On July 29, 2019, PEN America filed a friend of the court brief urging a federal appeals court in California to immediately release Jose, arrested and detained for publicly reciting a poem. Visit for updates.

Snakes slither from deep crevasses
in harsh, gray dust.
The earth splits, shakes, and shakes again.
We lock children in cages,
tossed away like broken birds.
Is this our America?

Our skins shaded
by cloud forests, mountains, deserts.
We kneel in the dark,
seek light beyond clouds,
cry for our babies.
Dear America, what are you afraid of?

Hollow-eyed families abandoned on the streets,
old cans kicked down the road.
Our country in tatters,
our leaders hiss lies.

A poet arrested—
heed the oracle.
Take to the streets, America.
We are in battle for our souls.

Angie Minkin is a writer currently living in San Francisco, CA. A Poetry Editor with Vistas & Byways Review, her work appears or is forthcoming in that journal as well as The Pangolin Review, Oh Mama, Bach in the Afternoon, and These Fragile Lilacs. Angie is inspired by the political landscape, poetry of liberation, and the voice of the wise woman.