The Border: A Double Sonnet
The border is a line that birds cannot see.
The border is a beautiful piece of paper folded carelessly in half.
The border is where flint first met steel, starting a century of fires.
The border is a belt that is too tight, holding things up but
making it hard to breathe.The border is a rusted hinge that does not bend.
The border is the blood clot in the river’s vein.
The border says stop to the wind, but the wind speaks another
language, and keeps going.
The border is a brand, the “Double-X” of barbed wire scarred into
the skin of so many.
The border has always been a welcome stopping place but is now
a stop sign, always red.
The border is a jump rope still there even after the game is
The border is a real crack in an imaginary dam.
The border used to be an actual place, but now, it is the act of a
The border, the word border, sounds like order, but in this place
they do not rhyme.
The border is a handshake that becomes a squeezing contest.
The border smells like cars at noon and wood smoke in the
The border is the place between the two pages in a book where
the spine is bent too far.
The border is two men in love with the same woman.
The border is an equation in search of an equals sign.
The border is the location of the factory where lightning and
thunder are made.
The border is “NoNo” The Clown, who can’t make anyone laugh.
The border is a locked door that has been promoted.
The border is a moat but without a castle on either side.
The border has become Checkpoint Chale.
The border is a place of plans constantly broken and repaired and
The border is mighty, but even the parting of the seas created a
path, not a barrier.
The border is a big, neat, clean, clear black line on a map that
does not exist.
The border is the line in new bifocals: below, small things get
bigger; above, nothing changes.
The border is a skunk with a white line down its back.
About Alberto Ríos
Born in Nogales Arizona, Álvaro Alberto Ríos is the inaugural state poet laureate of Arizona and the author of many poetry collections, including A Small Story about the Sky (Copper Canyon Press, 2015). In 1981, he received the Walt Whitman Award for his collection Whispering to Fool the Wind (Sheep Meadow Press, 1982).