This Fence is Not Yet a Wall

a poem by Victoria Elizabeth Ruwi

Conch shells bellow, welcome watchers

along the San Diego/Mexican border.

Seagulls land atop fence protruding into

the ocean, listen, fly freely on either side.

Temple gongs eclipse suspended cymbals’

clisp-clam, rain sticks shimmy; maracas,

castanets, vuvuzelas, interplay with border

crossing waves. We, the audience pied piper

into the reverb, hear musicians on both sides,

see listeners stepping from Playa de Tijuana

toward the fence. Cranked air raid sirens shriek

amid chimes. We, the ensemble, walk into the

music, barred by steel barriers tucked in between

barrios. Sweetly piccolos play with glockenspiels

in concert finale, then silence before applause.

Musicians abandon instruments, mutually turn,

stand on each side of dense metal mesh fence,

touch the only flesh touchable: fingertips.

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