Monday 5 August 2019


by Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard

When I was a professor I showed
my students films about the Third Reich
and asked them "Could this ever happen
here?" No, they responded in unison

Yet today, children as young as toddlers,
torn from their parents, are being
hauled off in crowded buses to prisons
in Texas, Florida, and all around the country.

They are crowded behind barbed wire
with no beds, blankets, soap, or toothpaste,
their clothes raising a stink that upsets
the guards. When they cry of thirst,

they are told to drink water from the toilets.
Many of them become ill with shingles,
chicken pox and scabies. And some
of them die, unknown. They weep,

traumatized and fearful. When local
people learn about these conditions
and arrive with supplies, they are turned
away, and people who provide food,

drink and shelter to immigrants crossing
the desert are charged with felonies.
Meanwhile, the President is holding rallies,
chanting "Make America Great Again,"

and the crowd wearing the red caps
cheers. Like the victories written
on rampant hunger and ruin
in Yemen, and his love letters

with North Korea, his pride is written
in misspelled tweets. There was the Third Reich,
and Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge,
but history is no longer part of our lives,

and we are so busy, so caught up
in a web of lies, as blind as the people
who lived in Germany, Cambodia,
Turkey, and worshiped the Angel of Death.

* * * * *

Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard is the author of 11 poetry books, two of which have won awards and 15 non-fiction books concerned with human rights, women's rights, social justice, illness and more. She was born in Trieste, Italy.

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