Mexican American Sublime

Mexican American Sublime | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Rio Grande Gorge from above. Courtesy of Sheila McClune/flickr.

From space the river is loose thread. Frayed but clearly discernible.

A wall but not a wall.

At county, a jailer winds it around his neck. Surrenders to unconditional embrace.

Some will use it for labyrinth. Others for escape as night dictates.

At the old Fort Brown emptied when a white woman cried that a black battalion had committed the crime

of supposing the air could also be theirs a room sparks as if drowned by gasoline.

Murder is too nice a word
for what was baptized in the water.

Now, at the little church overlooking despair, a new kind of invasion replaces the old.

Children in sisal sandals.
Old guns call new guns to scour the shore.

In false panic
there is no such thing as empathy.

Rodney Gomez is is a member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop and serves as the 2020-2021 Poet Laureate of McAllen, Texas. He is the author of Citizens of the Mausoleum, Ceremony of Sand, and the forthcoming collections Arsenal with Praise Song and Geographic Tongue.
Explore Related Content