A relentless South Texas wind poses impossible questions,
flaps the smirking flags until they are upturned,
mists the mown grass with evil’s sputum,
ripples the lone unarmed security guard’s shirt
as he waves concentration camp employees
in and out of the unremarkable office park parking lot.
Outside the Casa El Presidente tender-age detention facility
where children as young as one-month live in cages,
I wonder: How durable is the machinery of the state?
How many of us would it take
to brush past the guard in blue short sleeves
and blue shorts set against a darkening blue sky,
and set free the children?
One? Ten? One hundred?
Does America’s strength reside in this man’s
minimum-wage-routine, his indifferent pacing?
Do they that hired him have children, believe in love?
How does he feel standing there as darkness falls
and he becomes an inhuman shape silhouetted
against an inhuman panorama of wind-tossed stars
and a low-slung office building where little children
sleep the sleep of those who have lost everything?
I came here to bear witness.
I came to take a sabbatical from business-as-usual.
What I’ve found is the unimaginable-turned-banal,
like a nuclear detonation mentioned in passing
before CNN cuts for a commercial break.
The sun disappears. No one bothers to reach for a flashlight:
Nothing to see; the office curtains are drawn.
The night-shift staff arrives to relieve the day-shift
like nameless mechanics just doing their job,
for in America we all have jobs, we do them well
and without complaint,
and we quiet our minds with the faith
that hard work can set us free.
Sunday, July 29, 2018