Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Robert Wrigley: Taking Care

Tornillo, Texas


It must be assumed that the caretakers—

if that’s what they are called and not guards—

are kind.  If not parents then parental

in appropriately incarcerative ways.


As for the toddlers and pre-toddlers:

how many days, weeks, or months must pass

before they understand no mother, no father,

will hold them soon, or possibly ever?


Does the crying of one set off

the crying of others?  Does it stop

eventually? for good?

And the caretakers: what about them,


come home late at night.

And maybe before entering the house

their own children sleep in,

they sit on a plastic chair or a step,


on a porch or a patio,

on a driveway, a parched yard.

Perhaps they smoke a cigarette.

Who wouldn’t?  Just sitting there,


after all, listening to the cries

of coyotes, listening.

On one side of the river,

on the other, uncertain


what country they are in.


Copyright 2019 Robert Wrigley

Robert Wrigley’s many books include Box (2017, Penguin). He teaches at the University of Idaho.

3 comments on “Robert Wrigley: Taking Care

  1. singsharon
    November 28, 2018

    Heartbreaking in its restraint, in its reminder of the horrors going on down at the border because of our awful administration. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tricia Knoll
    November 28, 2018

    A beautiful, heart-felt poem made my heart feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. zeckrombryan
    November 28, 2018

    Deep and profound piece of poetry. The message of this one is particularly heavy. Hope to see more from you. Have hope, write on! 😊😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 28, 2018 by in Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , , .

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