Thursday 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 bone and voice, tried
to be soft. So many tried to be
empty, to be barely breath. To 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
Split This Rock