A National Monument Crosses Over

RESIST. I see it on bumper stickers, and feel it whenever I read the news, particularly when I see attempts to sidestep, attack, or weaken the press. I contribute to resistance as a knitter, having completed 33 pussy hats, an organizer, and now, as a poet. I was heartsick when I read this article about immigrants risking their lives to leave my beloved country, which had previously been proud to welcome them, in theory if not always in practice. So I wrote this poem, which I’m indebted to Poets Reading the News for publishing.

“Fuhgeddaboutit,” mother of exiles
muttered, rolling thirty-inch eyes.
Dropped her torch, hiked her skirts,
stepped over to Jersey. With her stride,
three hours to Niagara Falls, Canadian side.

Seidu Mohammed had a rougher trip. In a ten-hour
slog north from North Dakota, in snow waist-high,
frostbite took his fingers off. He feared deportation
from Minnesota to Ghana, where, because he loves
both men and women, they’d kill him. Thin gloves.

“God blessed Canada with good people,” he said,
refugee from the land of the free, land I once loved.

Since when are we the people others must escape?
So it’s no wonder “Liberty Enlightening the World” —
her full name — could no longer bear the inscription
asking for homeless and poor masses. She turned
her francophone sneer and her back to hypocrisy,
headed up Belleville Avenue, past Parsippany,

over the Poconos, across the Southern Tier,
into the embrace of the wise Justin Trudeau,
who tweets love, and “diversity is our strength,”
hashtag WelcomeToCanada, we have more Sikhs
in our cabinet than India does. We don’t do sweeps.

An empty granite pedestal in Upper New York Bay.
Since when are we the people others must escape?

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One response to this post.

  1. So sad and so true.
    So well said.
    Thank you for sharing

    Reply

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