To fight aloud is very brave

To fight aloud, is very brave —
But gallanter, I know
Who charge within the bosom
The Cavalry of Woe —
Who win, and nations do not see —
Who fall — and none observe —
Whose dying eyes, no Country
Regards with patriot love —
We trust, in plumed procession
For such, the Angels go —
Rank after Rank, with even feet —
And Uniforms of snow.

In this short Life that only lasts an hour

In this short Life that only lasts an hour
How much — how little — is within our power

The Same and the Other

in each hand a disparate dream: in all dreams                                                                                                                                                another far
            too quiet: delirium
                                     of the mask and God behind it: paradise
had no winter like
                          this: this
            is the one where the infant sleeps in the dirt
                                                                                the sleep
of a dreamless mind so far from home
                                                           he no longer resembles anyone:
            his mother, thrown
                                        down, hunted, sick 
with fear, sleeps next to him among the filth of animals: his father
              watches (the imperative
                                                       that love
—not solace—
                      demands), for there is no room for another
              sleeper: the desert will keep
                                                         bringing its mirage,
no doubt:
             the child will walk in his shimmering garden, says

the wilderness, if you just get across:
                                                          motes in the light rise and rest:
             sole face left (remember you are dust)
                                                                       of our first lost image:

–Gina Franco

Ghandi on the Chain of Positivity

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.

—Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Cage

In a world of loss
     gratitude is what 
          I demand for keeping 
     precious catch
within my reach.
     No one despises 
          the shepherd for
     collecting his flock. 
No one accuses 
     the watchman of 
          making a captive 
     of his charge.
I’m like a holster, 
     or sheath, all function 
          and no fury. Don’t 
     you worry as I 
swallow you whole. Those 
     ulcers in my gut 
          are only windows,
     the stoma punched 
in my throat is just 
     a keyhole. Don’t be shy.
          Hand me the rattle 
     of your aching heart
 and I’ll cradle you, 
     bird with broken wing. 
          Let me love you. I
     will hold your brittle 
bones together. I’ll 
     unclasp your beak
         so you can sing.
     It’s a world of always 
leaving but here
     you can always stay.

This is the closest I could get to the stark reality of children separated from their families and kept in cages. I tried other ways into the subject, but it always rang false, especially the versions I tried writing in the point of view of a child. I realized that these children have their own voices. But we are not listening. So I wrote a persona poem in which the villain tries to obscure the travesty of incarceration of minors with seductive, gas-lighting language.

—Rigoberto González

Magnitude and Bond

More than anything, I need this boy
so close to my ears, his questions

electric as honeybees in an acreage
of goldenrod and aster. And time where

we are, slow sugar in the veins
of white pine, rubbery mushrooms

cloistered at their feet. His tawny
listening at the water’s edge, shy

antlers in pooling green light, while
we consider fox prints etched in clay.

I need little black boys to be able to be
little black boys, whole salt water galaxies

in cotton and loudness—not fixed
in stunned suspension, episodes on hot

asphalt, waiting in the dazzling absence
of apology. I need this kid to stay mighty

and coltish, thundering alongside
other black kids, their wrestle and whoop,

the brightness of it—I need for the world
to bear it. And until it will, may the trees

kneel closer, while we sit in mineral hush,
together. May the boy whose dark eyes

are an echo of my father’s dark eyes,
and his father’s dark eyes, reach

with cupped hands into the braided
current. The boy, restless and lanky, the boy

for whom each moment endlessly opens,
for the attention he invests in the beetle’s

lacquered armor, each furrowed seed
or heartbeat, the boy who once told me

the world gives you second chances, the boy
tugging my arm, saying look, saying now.

—Nicole Terez Dutton