The Frantic Invisible Night

2,000 Children Separated at the Border

by Andrew Posner


They’ve separated 2,000 children.

No, they’ve discarded them

Like cans of Coca-Cola,

2,000 children who reached our shore

Like sea foam, salty, crying salt,

A parade of families marching for asylum,

Tangled in the seaweed of fear,

2,000 children taken away

Because the border is where,

Like a maternity ward,

Ideology meets blood.


They care for fetuses but not brown babies

Dead of dehydration

Or hysterical, crying Mama, Papa,

They destroy the water jugs

Scattered like leaking life rafts

In the desert ocean

That stretches from Tijuana

To the District of Columbia,

And the brown children's’ faces

Briefly light up in the light

Of the Cities on the Hill

Before they disappear

Into a frantic invisible night.


On Ellis Island, they changed names

To make it easier to pronounce them—

Mine was Pozniak, now it’s Posner,

Yes, much easier, much neater—

At least we pronounced them,

What are the names of these children?

No child is nameless, no child illegal!


They’ve stolen the honey of children

To manufacture their diabetic propaganda:

The soda-can-American-Dream!


See, America is the land that without irony

Sells cigarettes and Nicotine gum

And diet pills and Coca-Cola

Side-by-side at the checkout counter:

What becomes of a people immune to irony?


Ah, but they don’t mind

The children when they grow up,

Gardeners, nannies, cooks, field hands, factory workers,

Nor do they mind 2,000 children

Locked in cages, barcoded,

Scanned like soda

Sold for a profit at Walmart.


I mind.

My grandfather was

Sent to the Gulag

For being Jewish,

My relatives

Gassed to death:

How is this not the start

Of a Star-Spangled Holocaust?


Listen, listen, listen.

Lady Liberty’s torch, once doused,

Will not with ease re-ignite.

Already she vomits,

Her dress is covered in vomit,

Her arm grows weary,

The waters creep up her torso

Like a rising tide of vipers,

But still the light burns,

Still the light lights up

The frantic invisible night.


Somewhere 2,000 children

Cower in desolation,

Mothers and fathers

Sob like exploding stars

Wailing comet-tears for all to see.


And I too wail, I too am frantic

Because in the night things happen that neither history

Nor our children will or can or should


Andy Posner grew up in Los Angeles and moved to New England in 2007 to pursue an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides financial services to low-income families.


Andy enjoys reading, writing, watching documentaries, and ranting about injustice.

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August 2018

© 2020 by The Esthetic Apostle