They’ve separated 2,000 children.
No, they’ve discarded them
Like cans of Coca-Cola,
2,000 children who reached our shore
Like sea foam, salty, crying salt,
A column of families marching for asylum,
Tangled in the seaweed of fear,
2,000 children taken away
Because the border is where,
Like a maternity ward,
Ideology meets blood.
They care for fetuses but not brown babies
Dead of dehydration
Or hysterical, crying Mama, Papa,
They destroy the water jugs
Scattered like leaking life rafts
In the desert ocean
That stretches from Tijuana
To the District of Columbia,
And the brown children’s faces
Briefly light up in the light
Of the Cities on the Hill
Before they disappear
Into a frantic invisible night.
On Ellis Island they changed names
To make it easier to pronounce them—
Mine was Pozniak, now it’s Posner,
Yes, much easier, much neater—
At least we pronounced them,
What are the names of these children?
No child is nameless, no child illegal!
They’ve stolen the honey of children
To manufacture their diabetic propaganda:
See, America is the land that without irony
Sells cigarettes and Nicotine gum
And diet pills and Coca-Cola
Side-by-side at the checkout counter:
What becomes of a people immune to irony?
Ah, but they don’t mind
The children when they grow up,
Gardeners, nannies, cooks, field hands, factory workers,
Nor do they mind 2,000 children
Locked in cages, barcoded,
Scanned like soda
Sold for a profit at Walmart.
My grandfather was
Sent to the Gulag
For being Jewish,
Others gassed to death:
How is this not the start
Of a Star-Spangled Holocaust?
Listen, listen, listen.
Lady Liberty’s torch, once doused,
Will not with ease re-ignite.
Already she vomits,
Her dress is covered in vomit,
Her arm grows weary,
The waters creep up her torso
Like a rising tide of vipers,
But still the light burns,
Still the light lights up
The frantic invisible night.
Somewhere 2,000 children
Cower in desolation,
Mothers and fathers
Sob like exploding stars
Wailing comet-tears for all to see.
And I too wail, I too am frantic
Because in the night things happen that neither history
Nor our children will or can or should