Border Crossing

by Amy Watkins

An ice cream vendor in Mexico sells Popsicles to customers on both sides . . .
—Jason Beaubien, “The U.S.-Mexico Border: A Changing Frontier”

My friends, there are no borders
if there is ice cream changing hands,
sweetness passing between steel teeth
like the countless migrating birds of North America.

There is ice cream passing hand to hand;
I think, “The only empire is of ice cream
and the countless birds migrating north and south,
unstoppable, iridescent.”

The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream,
melting even the sedentary heart—
immovable, incandescent—
walled in but not sheltered and not alone.

Even the solitary heart can see
the dead girls in Tijuana walking
through walls—not sheltered, not lonely—
crisscrossing the desert in ghostly lines.

The dead girls in Tijuana go walking,
and what fence stops them?
What desert? What sandy line?
All the dead belong to all the living.

The fence stops a little
sweetness from passing. Between steel teeth,
the dead whisper to the living:
Friends, mis amigos, there are no borders.

Amy Watkins lives in Orlando, Florida, where she co-edits and hosts the podcast poetry magazine Red Lion square ( Her poems and essays have recent appeared in Kestrel,, and the anthology Motif 2: Come What May.