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Embroidering the Border

 
With heavy threads of green
And red, and white and blue,
I will embroider the border
Of Mexico and the United States.
I’ll work a fat needle
Through both sides of the fence,
Sewing a selvage with deft stitches,
Tatting holes through which migrants and tourists
And deer and javelinas can pass,
Through which families can re-unite:
A colorful frill that plays with air,
A fringe where stubborn reality dissolves
Into the positive possible;
Where one way gives way to another.
I will put a deckle-edge on the line
Drawn by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase,
Decorating it like a servilleta bordada –
A tortilla cloth lovingly embroidered by a mother
For her son migrating north.
In haste to evade la migra,
He loses it on a thorny desert trail.
I will gather a quilting bee
To cut squares of soft cloth
To stitch together across the line –
To keep migrants warm at night,
And soothe the senses of the Border Patrol.
In Spanglish and in Texican,
We will swap sides and stories
As we sew.
 
JIM BURKLO
Website: JIMBURKLO.COM Weblog: MUSINGS Follow me on twitter: @jtburklo
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Associate Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California

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