This poem uses the golden shovel form, in which the last words of each line, read in order, form a line from a different poem.
In the summer of 2014, thousands of unaccompanied minors crossed Mexico’s border with the United States.
(For Emma Lazarus)
The GOP congressman says we should not give
the impression they can stay. “The coyote left me,”
says Angel (13) “and I walked alone in the desert.” “Your
policies did it.” the president’s enemies say. “They’re tired
and hungry and scared.” says the priest. “They spend your
tax dollars.” says the radio man. “Their homes are poor
and murderous/” says the advocate. “Stay close to your
brother” were Ana’s grandmother’s last words. “Huddled
in detention centers,” the newswoman says, “these masses
are overwhelming.” “I don’t fault their yearning,”
says the mayor, “but…” I stop reading to put my kids to
sleep. Their great-grandparents came in steerage. It hurts to breathe
as I watch their faces: drowsy, safe and free.