On this Valentine’s Day,
The fence got in the way
Of sharing civil love
With the woman on the other side.
She holds her baby, approaching “my country.”
What can I do? Border patrol looks on, ready to intervene.
I think they have guns in their jeeps.
I turn, shame welling up in me,
betraying the sadness in my heart.
The tall fence divides, prevents my arm
From reaching hers on “the other side,”
Whatever that means.
Dialogue not even possible.
No words to exchange to share stories
Of womanhood, motherhood, and daily struggle.
Of things that make us laugh.
So, I keep my head turned, with my heart breaking.
I feel such shame at this fence, at myself.
I ask the driver to return to our car.
Do I turn and look once more?
I do. I wave. Her child waves back.
I wonder what image reflects in the tear
Escaping down my cheek.
— Christina M. Delaney
February 14, 2011, El Paso, TX