Did you see those maps?

posted November 11, 2020

Stranger, you are welcome here
Regardless of the laws of men and women
Who don’t see that freedom can’t be contained by a wall.
This land, always yours to claim, as much as mine
Since no natives made these laws.

Woody Guthrie said it best.
You know the song—our unofficial leftie
National Anthem. Though I quarrel with the idea
Someone made it for anyone. Maybe for
The deer and the antelope.

Did you see those maps in newspapers?
The image waves across the screen, first solid
Then pixilated, and back again. People, not land,
Are the ones who vote. The porous land votes with
Fires. With floods. With earthquakes.

This poem comes from a prompt by Sarah Sullivan. The idea was to write a three-verse poem using a syllable scheme that goes this way: 7, 11, 13, 11, 17.

Many of my dear friends are writing poems this month, and maybe you are too. We’re part of a longstanding tradition called 30 Poems in November, and we write to raise funds for the work of Center for New Americans, a local non-profit that supports newcomers to this country on the level of goods, services, helpful information, English lessons and more. I am posting first drafts of my poems daily on my blog, although I am defining “Poem” loosely. I would be grateful if you would sponsor me and/or another poet. All funds go directly to Center for New Americans.

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