I saw the edge of my world
in the face of a border-trapped child
on a screen, and shut it off at once.
Someone’s going to blame me
for doing nothing,
for turning away. I feel the same
or at least I used to
until the images
became so familiar
I could tell at once they were not current,
that the borders in question
were not my own, the child
in the scene died in a camp
or on a reserve decades before my birth
and I needn’t care anymore as they were
beyond my sympathy. I am beyond
my sympathy now, for that matter.
I admit I’m garbage who happens to be
alive in the now
on the right side
of the barbed wire fences. What a time
to be alive, in fact: the powerful
have made it easy to deny such hungry eyes
the courtesy of simply looking back.
It’s not real, I tell myself. It’s deepfake,
photoshop, propaganda. The sound
of the rumbling gut, the stare — all
pulled from history, remade
for today’s eyes. It’s not as if
nothing ever changes
on that side of the barbed wire. That kid
will be alright and pain free one way
or another, one day, no matter how I see them today.