Mother Behind the Fence

A poem written by poet, Brenna Cummiskey


The plane landed on the runway dusted in cracked red paint

The vibrant green jungles made their appearance clear through the tiny little window of the aircraft.

Jungles full of bright green banana leaves and luxurious palm trees more massive than Americans could ever imagine

Mountains covered in a muggy fog that covered the entire land in it’s wet and humid droplets

I stepped off and the bottom of my combat boots soaked up all of the precipitation in the crevices of its grip

My face heated up and began sweating, but it wasn’t the bad kind of heat

That heat that makes you tired

This heat cleansed your skin

This heat removed the toxins from the tips of your pores

We drove in the back of a motor wagon

The wind drying the sweat to the back of our neck

Our stomachs turned, flipping the glass dish that seemed to be inhabiting our insides

The path curved up and down swirling in ways that western roads never could.

We peered out the rain dropped covered windows

Our eyes lit up in awe and suddenly…

An elephant appeared with its trunk hung over a rusted, broken fence.

Her eyes were gentle, you could tell her long days had worn on her soul

Deepening her wrinkles and making her eyes appear shallow

Her tusks were minuscule

Her wrinkles were buried deep in her leather like skin

Her ears draped low and her eyes glimmered in the reflection of the green hue

Her eyes reflected her wisdom, her traumatic past, the cruelty and exploitation she endured through this country’s practices and industries.

I stood directly in front of her

My facial muscles sunk down and relaxed

My eyes were no longer strained, they were now contempt in observation of this beautiful mother.

I felt a new grasp of understanding within another creatures life.

I saw her children nestled under her trunk

I saw her arms tied between the strangling ropes struggling for dear breath

I saw her being rescued by the people who broke their own nations rules

The people who believed in something better

I saw her close her eyes, letting out a feeling of relief

I felt her pain run through my veins and I allowed myself to feel what she was feeling.