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

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "Border Lines," Alberto Rios tries to get us to look at maps in a different to way than how we normally do. Instead of fixating on what separates us, he wants us to acknowledge the common earth that we all share, irrespective of our cultural differences. As traditionally conceived, the border is an artificial dividing line. It must not therefore be allowed to determine the identity of groups or how people see each other.

If we follow the speaker's advice in the last few lines of the poem, we will see that the border is what unites us, not separates us. This develops an image used earlier on, when the speaker likens the world on a map to the drawing of a cow in a butcher's shop. That drawing may be divided up into individual pieces, but it's also a jigsaw puzzle in that all the parts ultimately fit together.

And it's the same with borders between nations. Borders can separate, but the pieces that they're separating—the individual nations and territories—are part of a unified whole....

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 868 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team