the divide

when mama and I go to the border fence, I squint real hard and wait
until the planks become black in the dark.

I can still see through gaps to the other side
does the ocean touch the shore the same way over there?

I hear talk of American soil,
how it is better, how it is pure.

I hear talk of American cities,
so rich every building shines in the sun.

I don’t think my coat with its faded patches
would look as nice over there, but I will still wear it.

mama says it will keep me warm inside the cargo container,
she says this is the only ticket to freedom we can afford.

we have to cross at night, she says,
and pray that we don’t get caught.

I ask her why we cannot simply cross the ocean,
she says our English dictionary would get wet.

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