At the border, children cry in cages.
Drenched in dark dreams, I wake.
My mother reaches from the grave. Nails catch the hem of my dress.
I fall on granite. Red streaks my shins.
Wrapped in a gray Mayan shawl, her mother is silent.
My father sits sobbing. Dust spots his black suit. Dried red roses
lay across his legs. Thorns pierce the wool.
Her father weeps.
Just turned twenty. Taking flight from violence in Guatemala. Shot
in the head by a Texas border agent. May 23, 2018.
Mother and father receive the white coffin carrying their daughter.
Its cover lifted partway.
Chella Courington is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear in anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quarterly and New World Writing. Her lyrical, flash novella, Adele and Tom: The Portrait of a Marriage (Breaking Rules Publishing), is featured at Vancouver Flash Fiction. A 2020 Pushcart and Best Small Fictions Nominee, Courington (she/her) lives in California.