Mortui vivos docent

This poem is in response to a New York Times article on migrant deaths of people who attempt to cross the border illegally.

Read here:


People become case numbers
Trying to find freedom
A place to call home
In search of the American dream
Or just a safe haven

Their hopes get them killed
When we try to keep them out
When we make taller walls
Stricter borders
Harsher penalties

Fear keeps them out
Of the unknown
Of the different
Of fear itself

They only want a fresh start
And become a number on a page
A body found in a ditch
Buried haphazardly
In milk crates
Shared graves

Along with trinkets
Clues to what their life once held
Pages from bibles
Simple bracelets of green ribbon
A loved, worn, torn teddy bear
A photograph of a wife, sister, daughter, friend

Only to become a number.
Only to become a file accruing dust
An unanswered question from far away family
A case never closed
A dream never fulfilled
A life not fully lived
A number.

Let the dead teach the living.