Journalism In Verse


Rio Grande Elegy

in Immigration/U.S. by

Perhaps he held her first
in the gush of waters
from his wife,
when the daughter came
to life’s bank first.
Perhaps he tucked her
under his shirt,
warming the newborn,
skin to skin, as we all do–
Quieting the thin, high wail
at the harsh atmosphere
we all brush up against,
the currents of hunger,
fear, hatred, rejection,
imprisonment on concrete
too many must brave–
Perhaps when the father
saw his mi’ja slip
from this nation’s muddy
bank, into our morass–
he knew they would drown
in our indifference,
So he tucked her close,
to his own slowing heart,
so the current she’d know
last, was love–
as her father made sure
she did not wash up alone.



Jasmine Marshall Armstrong is a poet, journalist and humanities scholar. She holds an M.A. from UC Merced and M.F.A. from Fresno State University. Her writing is informed by her experiences growing up working class in the contradiction of grit and glamor that is California.


A grim border drowning underlines peril facing many migrants
[AP News]

Family of girl and dad who drowned trying to reach U.S.: “He always protected her”
[CBS News]

Exclusive video moments after drowning death of toddler, father in Rio Grande

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