January 3, 2019 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

AP photo



Patricia Asuncion




What Child Is This Who Is Laid to Rest by CBP?





It’s okay, Mariee. we’ll see grandma soon. We’ll just be here

for a little while. We’ll get something to eat soon. They promised.


Instead of joining her mother in New Jersey on March 1,

Yazmin Juarez holds her nineteen-month-old Mariee close,


as if the young single mother can protect her child

inside the human scrap heap of Dilley Immigration Prison.


I told you people, my daughter needs more than this baby aspirin!

She’s got a high fever. She can’t keep your food down. She needs

a real doctor.


Three weeks later, Yazmin and Mariee, already gravely sick,

are released, like a feral cat tires of a dying mouse. They go to grandma.


After six weeks at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,

Mariee Juarez dies May 10, 2018.


Yazmin Juarez has no more words, only lawyers

with multiple lawsuits against agencies that deny all responsibility.





I know it’s hot, Jakelin, but we’re almost there. Look at all

these other children walking too. We will rest soon. I promise you.


Three days after her seventh birthday, Jakelin and her 29-year-old papa,

Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz are a breath away from the American border,


2,000 miles from home, but

they are arrested near Antelope Wells,


among 163 immigrants, including 50 unaccompanied minors

in a sly mousetrap set outside the front door on December 6, 9:15 pm.


Jakelin, take a little rest, you’ll feel better. It’s late. We must wait for the bus

to come back. The children with no parents had to go first. There will be

plenty water and some food on the bus, you’ll see.


4:30 am, the bus picks them up for the 95-mile trip,

but Jakelin starts vomiting at 5:00 am.


Without food and water for days,

a death sentence for a birthday girl.


Help is 95 miles away. When the bus arrives at 6:30 am,

Jakelin has stopped breathing.


She is airlifted, papa is driven

to El Paso hospital, but it is formality, not rescue.


Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin dies at 12:30 am, December 8, 2018.


In detained silence, papa Nery signs no-fault papers.

Far away in silence mama Claudia Maquin weeps


in Q’eqchi when her daughter returns

in a box.





Felipe, you are my little man now. We can do this together. When we get to El Paso,

we can find a nice place for everybody back home. You’ll see. Just keep up. Okay?


Felipe Alonzo-Gomez and his father are arrested December 8, 1pm,

near Paso Del Norte where they stay until their transfer, December 22,


late at night, to less-crowded Alamogordo Border Patrol Station,

like cattle-roundups, for ranchers’ profits.


I’m sorry you don’t feel so good. You must be missing our family too with Christmas

coming. You get some rest. Me and you will be together for Christmas. That’s good.


On Christmas Eve morning, Felipe is treated

for flu symptoms at the hospital. His 103 fever


keeps him there with his father until 3 pm when he is released

with routine ibuprofen & amoxicillin.


At least it’s quiet here tonight because it’s Christmas Eve, Felipe. You can sleep

and wake up feeling better. Tomorrow will be the birth of baby Jesus.


No EMT on duty because of the holiday miracle,

no sickness, no emergencies while Christmas Cat’s away.


Vomiting since 7 pm, agents decide at 10 pm

to transport Felipe and his father to the hospital, but


he loses consciousness on the way.

Felipe Alonzo-Gomez dies at 11:48 pm, December 24, 2018.


No response by the father,

only rhetorical responses by American fat cats.





I – https://abcnews.go.com/US/mother-toddler-died-released-ice-custody-files-wrongful/story?id=57473060

II – https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-cantu-border-patrol-cruelty-20181218-story.html

III – https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/26/us/cbp-timeline-guatemala-boy-dies/index.html






Patricia Asuncion

Patsy Asuncion’s Cut on the Bias 2016 depicts her bi-racial slant as an inner-city child raised by an immigrant father. Publications include New York Times, vox poetica, New Verse News, Indiana & Loyola University, Fredericksburg literary reviews. Patsy promotes diversity through: her open mic (12,750+ YouTube views); community initiatives; arts boards policies. www.patasuncion.wix.com/patsy-asuncion

Editor review


  1. Clarkark January 05, at 16:10

    It is devastating to know POTUS and his leadership are responsible for this unspeakable heartache and senseless deaths. It goes against everything the USA stands for. Native Americans are the only people who are not immigrants. We are all immigrants. And POTUS married two immigrants! Just saying.

  2. Alex January 04, at 17:47

    Sigh. Haunting. Well done but so sad to realize.

  3. Rie January 04, at 16:10

    Heartbreaking. Thank you, Patsy, for making it more real. We need it to be real and not just another article in the paper. Thank you.

  4. Lynne January 03, at 16:00

    It's absolutely heartbreaking, this reality. Thank you for your poignant and truth filled expressions.


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