A border figure, as used in border poetics, is a figural expression (such as a metaphor or a metonym) denoting the border creating connotations as to how border is conceived. As such they may be used to express a phenomenon which is difficult to imagine clearly, or to emphasize a particular aspect of the border. They can also be used in a very conventional way, and can sometimes limit and otherwise affect the way in which the border is conceived.
Typical border figures are walls, rivers, bridges, seams, windows, doors, skin, veils, masks, faces, fronts, etc. Topically famous borders such as the Berlin wall may be used as figures for other borders. Border agents (gatekeepers, border guards etc) can also function as metonymical figures for the border.
Border figures are typically spatial expressions, and thus they not only figure the border, but give it a certain configuration.
As figures, the border figure may create textual borders, as the text shifts in and out of a figural mode.