I don't often put unpublished poems online in their entirety. Many journals consider blog postings to be publication, so I often put my already published poems here or poems that I don't think will be published. I've written a lot of poems, so I have a lot to choose from.
This week, I wrote a poem that juxtaposed our happy Facebook pictures of beaches and church camps with children sleeping in different kinds of camps and that iconic picture of the father and daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande. As I was writing that poem, the possibility of a sonnet came to me with these lines: Children pick lice from each others' hair / and cry for parents who are not there.
Usually I can't write a sonnet--there are parts I just can't accomplish, usually having to do with rhyme schemes. But as I played with lines, a bigger idea occurred to me: a poem that had three stanzas that looked at how each branch of the government is dealing with the immigration crisis. And the poem came together fairly easily.
I'm going to post it here in the hopes that these problems get resolved quickly and that this poem ceases to be relevant.
Children pick lice from each other’s hair.
They sleep on cold concrete floors
and cry for parents who are God knows where.
Legislators look to settle scores.
A father and a daughter drown.
Immigrants die in the desert heat.
At least their bodies are found.
The president makes policy by tweet.
In October the Supreme Court will hear
the case of children without documents.
We dare to hope and sometimes fear
the end to years of arguments.
Historians may say the nation lost its way.
Or maybe this time we will hold the evil ones at bay.
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