Amending Wall

If ‘crucified’ means one has died
On the cross, then what is the word
In English for dying at the crossing
Between countries? What word describes
When a brown woman’s dreams of being
Something like a white man are killed
At the intersection between his dreamt-up borders
And his dream-come-true border patrol?
‘White man’ like dead men printed or
Minted on money more valuable
Than the pesos in her purse.
‘White man’ like gods on horseback come to
Conquer their India after reading a
Mistaken map. ‘White man’ like the grace of
Misinterpreted omens turned
Into a chance for vicious attack.
‘White man’ like buying but outlawing
Cocaine to catch the ‘brown man’ in the crossfire of
Its trade. ‘White man’ like picket fences
In award-winning films about
The privilege of being ‘so over’
Privilege that He yearns
For something ‘real.’
Something there is that loves
A wall, that builds a boundary, that calls
The structure ‘love of country.’
Something there is that kills those who trespass.
Something there is that buries
Bodies at a border as foundation stones
For yet another wall. But something there is that doesn’t love
Fathers saying, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
Something doesn’t love a man carving up
A continent and its people to make a new world
In the image of old words like the name of god
Instead of new words like the name of one’s own desires
To divide life into here and after by crossing an ocean
As if it were the pearly gates. O, Amerikkka,
If anywhere there are limits are beginnings and ends,
Then Heaven has to be a nothing
Loving a something loving its everything;
Then life, country, and their borders
Ain’t nothing but a thing.

after Robert Frost

“Amending Wall” comes from Migrant Psalms by Darrel Alejandro Holnes. Copyright © 2021 by Northwestern University. Published 2021 by Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved.