From These Ashes: Election 2016

I am truly heartbroken at the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. I believed that our country had made forward progress. I had a lot of hope for women, for minorities, for LGBTQIA, for immigrants. I am not the most knowledgeable person to be commenting on politics. I pay attention. I vote. I am no expert.

But now I am fearful for our collective future. I am worried about the uncertainty for the many immigrants who call this country home. I am frightened about what will happen to women’s rights, gay rights, our country’s perception on the world stage and the relationships that are paramount to peace.

Though our country has voted in this way, I hope the world knows that not everyone here agrees. Immigrants, LGBTQIA and friends across the world, I support you. I am with you. And there are more people like me. Even in the Midwest where there was a stunning voter turnout in the red column.

While I do plan to find a way to make a difference, in truly the writer’s fashion, I have chosen to respond to what has transpired in the past 24 hours in words. Poetry is a style I like to dabble in on occasion, but it is not my main voice of choice. So with that caveat…

From These Ashes

From battle we were born,
our quickening marked
by the shaky shots of Minutemen
who gave life and limb for freedom.

Descended from refugees,
we live on stolen land
taken as our ancestors fled oppression.
Have we forgotten this?
Wherever we turn, danger—so they tell us—lurks.

I look in your eyes and see
neither creed nor color,
age nor gender.
You are simply one human looking back at me
making your way in the world.
Flesh and bone.
Mirroring heartbeats.
Breathing the same air.

This land of freedom,
this fertile field of opportunity
is a pipe dream, a cardboard cutout
for in the face of adversity,
we turn our heads
and avert our eyes,
abandoning our brethren,
our fellow immigrants,
our children. For what?

Left in the ashes hatred wrought,
the dreams of our founders
turn to smoke.

Arming ourselves with denial
brings genocide. Nuclear war.
The deaths of innocents.
We’ve walked that path already.
We cannot do nothing.

Yet, where there is smoke,
a spark glimmers
and hope may bloom,
bursting forth once more.

We will rise, stoking the flames.
We will honor our brethren,
we will protect each other.
until there is a conflagration
and the flames of acceptance blaze once more.

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