You Whom They Border




you border crosser

in this simulation

you constantly slip

and call one border

by the other’s name

the names aren’t straight

inside of you and you

conflate one with two

because you still yearn

for another border

four by four hidden

crossers that everyday

irrigated jeep tries to cross


this is the border simulator

where you imagine

your way through

the relationship you can pretend

to get chased by someone

who looks like you

employed by the border

to grab others like you


AAAthat’s the number

of remains found

in the year not the deaths

you can catch the catcher

of catchers who funnel

crossers into more habitable

parts their words don’t know

how to border each other


their worlds don’t know

how to border each other

or where to draw the imaginary

dotted line we were crossing

and it was fine until the words

left us and we couldn’t see

each others eyes or fear

but we knew it was there

and their bland coyote

is all bright division

with his shoulders

over the desert

and through the cholla


and there’s pressure

to keep the cars moving

Bachelard says humans love caves

and hidden drawers

these coyotes love hiding

Guatemalans in little cupboards

in the back of their trucks

in clever compartments

once over they pop out

with open arms and say cabrón





Cover of TLR's "Chemistry" issue with cover art by Wayne Chang

Gabriel Dozal is from El Paso, Texas. He received his MFA in poetry from the University of Arizona. His work appears in Guernica, The Iowa Review, and The Brooklyn Rail and Contra Viento

Dozal’s debut publication, You Whom They Border, first appeared in TLR Chemistry.