Where will the children play
Their names, carved in the keel
of the vessel in which they traveled.
Their margins, our boundaries pushed
to the side in view of what really matters
in our fallible, sensitive lives, seek
a response from the unknown.
Position yourselves next to the mystery
of their music. Is child play the glimmer
that does not bond to anything,
a mirror of water: the closed curtain
in the school of human affections?
Gunshot signals the rescue,
yet you deny them entry.
A growing weakness reminds me
that there is no beginning or end in the life
of your phosphoric limbo, Mr. President.
Nobility of Blood
Dear Lord, this congressional recess
the President’s cabinet promises
to thank you for AIDS, though
it has not made them transcend
into the 21st century. They are
still caught up in superficial things
like fake news, taxes, bans, the wall.
We thank you for these tent evangelists,
brothers and sisters alike,
breeders of hate crimes,
that reject the perfect beauty
of homemade remedies
and blood transfusions.
Lord, forgive their arrogance
toward the medical community
and appoint faith healers
to Obama Care, or whatever the hell
Mr. Trump decides to call it.
Thank you for allowing me to live
on the periphery of society,
where nobody asks yet everybody
tells. Thank you for the innocent
illusion of my open exhibitions
of affection toward Omar. Thank you
for not letting in immigrants
from Muslim Africa, where water, food,
and medical supplies have always
been scarce and costly, where rape
and violence towards women
is beyond control, where children
have no choice but to fight
for brutal warlords, where life
and death no longer belongs to You.
Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Libya, Sudan,
have you learned to die?
Sergio A. Ortiz is a queer Puerto Rican poet and the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review. He is a two time Pushcart nominee, a four time Best of the Web nominee, and a 2016 Best of the Net nominee. His poems have been published in hundreds of journals and anthologies. He is currently working on his first full length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.