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,

Bald, or head shaved—I can’t tell which with the sun

Dipping lower and lower into the night’s waiting grave—

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.

 

 by Andy Posner

Andy Posner is a resident of Dedham, Massachusetts. He grew up in Los Angeles and received his Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Culture from California State University, Northridge. He moved to New England in 2007 to pursue an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown University. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides small personal loans and financial coaching to low-income families. When not working, he enjoys reading, writing, cycling, and ranting about the state of the world.

 

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