Journalism In Verse


What They Don’t Say About Border Violence

in Politics/U.S. by

They cry “border violence,” even though
they brought the violence to us,

building their prisons and war
training centers on top of the ocotillo,

creosote and sotol. Their Humvees storming
replica cities with Arabic lettering.

“Hajjis” versus “Joes” with a quick stop
off at the Orogrande for some snacks

afterwards. Before Tornillo there was
Holloman Air Force Base, Fort Bliss,

White Sands Missile Range and unexploded
munitions off U.S. 54. Before Karnes

and Dilley there was the Crystal City
Alien Enemy Detention Facility and Texas

Rangers who murdered thousands of Tejanos
and Mexicans without consequence.

Before the migrant caravans, there was the School
of the Americas, El Mozote, Battalion 316,

and Berta Caceres. Before Tijuana, they gassed
protesters at Standing Rock, Ferguson, Occupy

and Tahrir Square. Since 2012, tear gas
has been used by CBP in 126 border “incidents.”

Before the Final Solution, the U.S. Public Health
Service used Zyklon B to “disinfest” hundreds

of thousands of Mexicans at the border. Domestic
workers, day laborers, and refugees. Photos

of the El Paso Disinfection Station appeared
in a scientific journal in Germany in 1938.



Abigail Carl-Klassen has been published in ZYZZYVA, Cimarron Review, Guernica, Aster(ix) and Post Road. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets 2015. She earned an MFA from the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual Creative Writing Program and taught at El Paso Community College and the University of Texas El Paso.

Photograph from the White House.

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