What is the meaning of the poem "Border Lines" by Alberto Rios?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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"Border Lines," by Alberto Rios, speaks to the fact that too many people look at the lines of a map, which are meant to detail boundaries, as separators. Instead, Rios suggests that if one is to look at the parts of a map as a whole then people would certainly have a different perception of what a boundary really is.

Boundaries only exist if one recognizes then as something meant to separate. If one does not look at a boundary in this way, the boundary becomes void.

What Rios is stating in the poem is that it is much more important not to look at a "map" at all. Instead, people should simply understand that the world is not made up of lines which divide; the world is actually made up of people whose lives meet because of the lines.

The most moving lines of the poem appear at the end (which is important given it is the last thought a reader is left with).

Let us turn the map until we see clear

The border is what joins us,

Not what separates us.