By Julie L. Moore
Along the Rio Grande, in Ciudad Juárez,
amid the high Chihuahuan desert,
when bitter winter arrives, asylum
seekers like a Zacatecas grandfather
make coffee in a pot from water
then mix chili with eggs
over the open flame made with twigs
gathered within reach of the bridge
that eludes them,
fire a girl warms herself by,
knit hat upon her head, fleece
enveloping her like Gideon’s prayer
pleading for a sign.
Here in the Paso del Norte,
nestled in a plastic chair, another girl,
just one year old,
is wrapped in sweaters
like a gift some Americans refuse.
Look, for instance,
at Nicole Marie Poole Franklin,
who intentionally aimed
first at an African-American
boy ambling around his apartment complex,
then at 14 year-old Natalia Miranda
as she walked
to a basketball game, excited to see her friends,
cheer on her team.
I mean, on the sidewalks, in Clive, Iowa.
Just before Christmas.
Accelerating to make contact.
Ice, indeed, suffices
when you are tender and mild
when words subsist as sticks,
as the thick skin of stone.
Where even air in a nation’s atmosphere
hits you hard, then runs
from the reality of its strike.
A Best of the Net and six-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Julie L. Moore is the author of four poetry collections, including, most recently, Full Worm Moon, which won a 2018 Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award and received honorable mention for the Conference on Christianity and Literature’s 2018 Book of the Year Award. Her poetry has appeared previously in Saint Katherine Review as well as in African American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, New Ohio Review, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. She is the Writing Center Director at Taylor University, where she is also the poetry editor for Relief Journal. Learn more about her work at julielmoore.com.