I said I shouldn’t have to prove
my exceptional nature and skills
to be valued, that I am human
should be enough to make you want
to care about me and not think of me as
a heap of dirt to be danced on
like some grave.
Then I looked around:
when has being human
ever been enough?
I said that everyone came here
from somewhere except for those of us
whose folks were here already.
Then someone reminded me
of the Bering Straits and someone else
pointed at carved heads and said Africa
and another one laughed
and said Irish monks and let us not forget
the sky people from Sirius or
and I realized
how much people
love the colonial buffet.
I said something about
a living wage and
not having to fear that
a broken turn signal
might get you beaten
or jailed or deported or
killed. I said something
about people who had no choice
about coming here, about people
born here with no voice to be heard
here, about people burning here
and drowning here.
Then it struck me
that no one could hear a thing I’d said
over the sound of locks being locked
and deadbolts being thrown, guns
being cocked and hands being clapped
over ears and eyes.
I stopped talking long enough
to consider the possibility
that perhaps they heard me just fine
and that was why they locked
and loaded and shut themselves away.
I stopped talking.
I looked up.
dawn in the air. It was lonely
but it was new. It might not have lasted
long but it was clean. It might
still have been night
but that hint of sun