I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America— //
we cauterize our skin red white blue // as if one wound could heal another,
as if all that red
were enough to make the Republic for which they stand // our loving fatherland.
Father, where were you when One Nation
repatriated your children // Under God // to countries they never knew?
Speak up, they say, but our voices are not hoarse // from lack of use.
If we raised a cry
& no one heard // did we make a sound?
Why don ’ t you go back to your country, they say // the outrageous kindness with which
they dissolve all trust & treaty rattles // our bones.
What folly it is
to conflate home & homeland.
Weren ’ t we born
of the same womb & weaned on the same anthem // of liberty and justice for all?
O Father, they have not charted the terrain // of our hearts—how
could they know the way // we are moved
by slow country sunsets and city lights, the way
we are moved by you?
The ghosts of ancestral villages // storm our dreams & refuse to die.
We are divided in love, not loyalty.
Surely, we thought, they will know //
that love is indivisible.
We will genuflect ourselves // at the altar of the Stars & Stripes,
but this test of faith is Sisyphean, never ending:
Father, our knees // are already weak. If rising is a sin,
we will rise.
If rising is a sin,
do not save our souls.