We Worked and Worked

We crossed the stone wall—
rocks set upon each other
up to the knee.

There were holes between some rocks
as if smaller rocks should be wedged
to sustain the formation.

It was easy to cross over
but impossible to return
even to aid a friend who stumbled.

We’d been told the Mexican coyotes
brought undocumented folks
up dry stream beds

and that here drug mules
evaded federal agents
and their drug sniffing dogs.

We saw no sign of such maneuvers
engines of transport
or spotlights flicked on at night.

We found brooms stacked like arms.
There was a note attached
but we could not read it in the moonlight.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Rural Wind By The Border

It was more like the songs played us
after observing the dogs walking us.

A horse mulls about the pasture
trying to remember the lyrics to a torch song.

If you flag the Greyhound down
it halts and picks you up

without the nicety of a bus stop
but you better be going east or west.

A whisper stalked through
the cornfield this morning.

It gently told me something
I could not translate from its Spanish.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


Dora sips
from the Rio Grande’s delta.
She tastes the farm chemical runoff,
the industrial waste.
She spits it out
as rain over

There asylum seekers
bathe in the river,
fill gallon sized containers
and carry them back
to a Tent City.

Dante never imagined this
as the shape of Purgatory
or how desperation
and violence pock
their penitent waiting.

Desperation splits families,
sends children alone
across Gateway International Bridge.
Small hands carry
childproof scissors
to cut the red tape
that binds their family’s freedom.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


More and more stories are working their way into the news of the violence that takes place in the cross border camps for people seeking U.S. asylum. How after too much violence, they send their children across the borders alone, because current U. S. policy will deny families their lawful asylum seeking entry into this country, but not unescorted children.

Child separation policies do tremendous damage to the children. They have all through history. We know this. We know it is part of the definition of Genocide. Yet educated people still make this sort of policy, then blame the victims. Why the Christian church (all the denominations) has not risen up in mass to protest this policy is beyond my understanding.

Fear and lack of will is what I blame it on. Using fear to garner votes. Lack of will to supply border agencies with enough money to adjudicate asylum claims in a timely manner. Lack of will to provide money for safe housing while people await their asylum claim’s resolution.

This is an Us and Them issue in many ways. Remember there is no Them. There is only Us.

If religious folks applied the Golden Rule to the situation and admitted they would never wish to be treated as we have treated immigrants, the will would be found.

Guess this is a soapbox morning.

Love & Light.


Come November

What she sees through her binoculars is not wild horses,
but a child bent to the ground examining a butterfly
drying its wings of dew in the risen light.

The thin sliver of smoke rising from beyond the ridge
might as well be the salty smoke of Sodom in ruin,
though she guesses it is an immigrant campfire.

But the analogy holds when she thinks about the emerging news
about Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
Her family reads only Facebook and forms opinions accordingly.

Her dog perks up, sniffs the air, woofs.
Use to be, she would take a case of bottled water
to the migrant trail the coyotes blazed.

But the sheriff and border patrol now arrest people
for aiding and abetting the crossing of that invisible line.

She thinks not providing water to the thirsty
should be a crime against humanity.

She improves her Spanish
in an adult education class at the community college.

She knows she will vote for a new sheriff
in the autumn elections.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney