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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