I'd much rather find out whether or not anchor babies are citizens
because a lot of people don't think they are. We're going to test it out.
—Donald Trump (2015)
Awoke on the gurney full with nature,
her belly like a gumball, oh, you took
my kidney, she said and went down again.
Awoke to grunts like wild pigs.
Awoke to forceps hitting walls
against each other, woke to seas
parting, oh, get that metal out of me.
Jus soli means right of soil means
an ark holds only one of each.
The rest is a cesarean.
The rest, border patrol.
I watch my mother bare the documents,
her placenta like dead weight. Baby, oh,
we made it. Jus sanguinis means right
of blood means rite of passage over
means these wombs are travelling sites
to freedom. The rest is just abortion,
the rest in name of liberty.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…
—Emma Lazarus, "The New Colossus"
I wear this country's pride to work
with two red-spangled stripes on sleeves.
Near my collar at the office,
gold insignias spread eagle.
The bomber jacket runs XL on me
like a Doberman who crouches over turf.
I never saw this corporation as
a father. Anyway I hate his job.
On holiday we wash our clothes all morning,
then drink coffee, think as if we have not done before.
How would it feel to leave
this country but discover
we are forbidden to come back? How
much longer would we stay until surrendering
to banishment? Give
our tired and our poor.
Some white women would rather listen
to a white woman, would rather listen to a thick
white mist that gathers in
our suburbs and our cities.
Oh, land. Oh, pride. My country 'tis of thee.
Who would rather spit upon our huddled masses
yearning to breathe free.
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
—Simon & Garfunkel, "The Sound of Silence"
Three hours of breaking news is enough
to know the difference between a sagebrush
and an order.
Father in his house of god,
not our god but some neon light
that flashes. "Ten thousand people,
maybe more" whose words take root
on every billboard in the West. I've heard
the mandrake long
to reach immunity, forking gold
upon its leaves like baby teeth,
proof it once was human, too.
Who sold this story months ago
in the cotton fields of Alabama.
How much it takes
to break the soul inside
Guantanamo Bay. Was I
its traitor or a sonogram
prophesying heartbeats in the cradle
of America. Was it ten fingers on a cord
or ammunition. Was it liberating
for our soldiers marching
on and on, or was it chaos.
Was it sunset in the minds of god,
not my god but a pause.
And to those walls we made.
And to each song behind the raids
and laws and mass deportations. Who
can look away or muffle each scream
across our timelines.
Watching, always watching like
a cancer grows. I have no answers
for such sins. I speak
when spoken to. I crave
the silence of ten thousand people
on the edge of jumping.
I crave the bloom. A crown before
the prophets take the crown and melt
his rubies down. The smell
of pomegranate seeds
instead of teeth.
Old enough to know the velvet of your hand
against my skin, we pull each other closer
and we speak only when needed.
Lost inside the shipwreck of your love,
I signal ichigo for apple
though we have none left to carve.
Our bed upon
the rocks, a crate of seeds
for all the words I cannot translate
into trees, my tongue barren of fruit.
Old enough to learn
a child's language tastes
just like a phantom in the mouth—kawa
for river; shinpai expresses
worry; ongaku for song—
I close my eyes
beneath your touch and fade.