Friday Poem

After the Election: a father speaks to his son

He says, they will not take us.
They want the ones who love
another god, the ones whose
joy comes with five prayers and
songs to the sun in the mornings
and at night. He says, they will
not want us. They want the ones
whose tongues stumble over
silent e’s, whose voices creak
when a th suddenly appears
in the middle of a word. They want
the ones who cannot hide copper skin
like we can. He says, I am old. I lived
through one revolution. We can hide
our skin. We have read the books.
He says, we are the quiet kind, the ones
who stay late and do not speak,
the ones who do not bring trumpets
or trouble. He says we are safe in silence.
We must become ghosts.

I think, so many are already
dust, tried to stay thin, be small,
tried breaking their own bone and voice,
tried to be soft, like a heart in the middle
of the night. So many tried to be
nothing, to be only breath. Be still
enough to be left alone. Become
shadows, trying not to be bodies.

It never works. To become nothing.
They come for the shadows too.

by M. Soledad Caballero
from Split This Rock