by Mary Johnson-Butterworth
“Donde estas, mama’?”
Snatched from the breast
To live where leche curdles,
Where cells cradle and concrete cuddles
Those whose cries are not to be
Lulled by a lullaby.
Donde estan los ninos?
Where are these summer camps without play?
Structures rife with rancid water?
Walled away from los padres.
Walled away via Lumpkin, Georgia.
Walled away via Brownsville, Texas.
Fostered by gringos via Parts Unknown.
The Disappeared Ones US 2018.
Undercover of ICE,
Their lives are frozen.
“Where are you, Daddy,
As these children disappear?”
Separate and unequal without hugs,
Only tears that could saturate a Huggie.
Abed, they tear at sheets of ICE,
Deplored by the ICEists who torment,
Todos to dos inhumane,
Badges of Dishonor,
Clubs no one’s body should join.
Give me your tired, your poor.
We’ll show them all what for.
Brown babes not left behind,
Now impossible to find.
Infants, adolescents, teens,
A toxic way to wean!
In our shame and our despair,
God bless the child
Neither here nor there.
Mary Johnson-Butterworth, age 69, has been a social justice activist most of her adult life. She has facilitated social justice workshops for middle and high school students throughout the Birmingham area and beyond with the YWCA of Central Alabama, the National Conference for Community and Justice, the National Coalition Building Institute, and YouthServe. Mary has also been on staff at a residential YWCA diversity camp, Anytown Alabama, for 22 years and has facilitated trainings for corporate entities, Leadership Birmingham, and Project Corporate Leadership. She has recently discovered the power of poetry to transform her own life and the lives of impacted listeners.