I hadn’t meant to see. I’d been taking a break from the news. 

Ever since my last medical visit, I’d preferred more uplifting distraction, 

But when the article slipped to my screen, I couldn’t help but read.

Two Bodies Found in the Rio Grande.

     What possible cause?  

I weighed the invisibles, the current, the course,

Then blinked against my reflection. There was a photo attached.

The father. The child. The toddler’s arm still draping the neck of the father.

I rubbed my eyes — they’ve been giving me trouble lately — then stood.

Outside — my sun. My lawn. At the farthest edge,

The movement of my brook startled me. I had not seen.

     What possible cause?

     Extreme near-sightedness?

     Shrunken periphery?


I weighed the invisibles. The current. The course.

     A wall-like shadow falls over the visual field.

     This is an emergency situation. A deep layer of vision has pulled back.

     Cells have been separated from their own blood.

I weigh the invisibles. The current. The course.

I weigh the father, the vision that drove him.

I weigh the toddler, still tucked in her father’s shirt,

Her braids clasped with bows only hours before.

     Torn fibers catch at the shades.

Somehow, I’ve lost sight of the stream.

The strand. The weeds. The unbraiding light.

On June 24, 2019, journalist Julia Le Duc photographed the lifeless bodies of two asylum seekers, a father and his daughter, who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande. “Detachment” is my response to that photograph and to the tragedy which that photograph captures.

“Detachment” was first published by Glass: A Journal of Poetry.
August 29, 2019, Edited by Michael Carter.

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