Barbarian at the Gate

by Xavier Cavazos

selected by Thomas Sayers Ellis

Anaphora, chiasmus, diacope, polyptoton


Crossing the border

My brothers and sisters are dying in train cars. Overcome
from the temperatures of one-hundred-degree days, my brothers

and sisters die. My brothers and sisters, carried like cargo
along Interstate 8 in the trunks of automobiles

as American as pi├▒atas in the aisles of Wal-Mart in rural towns
across the Midwest. My brothers and sisters are carrying

the weight of being sent back to Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala,
Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador. My brothers and sisters

need us to care. My brothers and sisters are being shot at
in Mexico while thinking of crossing the border in San Ysidro,

named for the patron saint of farmers near San Diego.
My brothers and sisters are bleeding to death

from gunshot wounds by American border patrol agents
in El Paso, Texas. My brothers and sisters have bled

from chest wounds, from shoulder wounds, from leg wounds,
from wounds left open, my brothers and sisters bleed.

On June 8th, 2010, a fifteen-year-old Mexican citizen
was shot to death on the Mexican side of the border near El Paso.

Passport stampless! Bullets, bullets! Passport stampless!


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