Poetry Archive

Silent Chaos

Using only the moon’s ripples as navigation,
Marina and her daughter make their way to the U.S.
Several centavos in her pocket jingle with each footstep north.

There is a silent drumming within her. 

Her hair is matted. Her eyes, dark and collected like rain clouds.
Her feet are cozy for now, but her soles are thinning fast.

Fear, a wild river, courses through her body.
Propels her. Her girl’s cold hand in hers.

She doesn’t hear it, doesn’t even know it exists yet,
But that silent drumming maintains the tempo of her pace.

She is running on one tired prayer and the reminder
of small raisin-like bruises on her inner thighs.

There is a silent drumming within her.

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Filed under: Poetry Archive


Nayelly is an educator, activist, and poet. She is a Rio Grande borderlands native. Her poetry has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Puerto del Sol, Notre Dame Review, and others. She is a co-founder of Angry Tias and Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley, an organization that advocates for immigrant rights and received the 2019 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.