Thursday, May 9, 2013

"my mother is a flower who has bloomed"

Photo by Alsy Acevedo/CRS

the same as every sunday 
my mother asks me to go to church with her 
and forgetting my baptism and communion and catholic guilt 
I quickly decline and she slowly wilts into disappointment 
yes, my mother is a flower 
who has bloomed, given up, been devoured 
by guerrilla warfare and coup d'etats 
by a cold, cold world who seemed to have forgot 
that she was only blooming 
and as reagan and romney promised champagne to trickle down like rain 
on a famined nation 
they funded slaughter and rape under the tin roofs of my mother's town 
blood stained cotton gowns of girls she went to school with 
and so she emigrated to the country that enabled her suffering 
freedom pending, freedom assumed, freedom buffering 
and she joined the sea of thankless 9-5 
except my mother starts her day at 4 in the morning 
rising unseen, as history is forming all she has been through into nothing 
so getting up early for church on sundays isn't much to her 
but mom i don't know whether i'm amazed or disappointed 
that you can still believe in anything 
because america, someone else's beautiful, funded your destruction 
so where was God when the soldiers raped the girls in El Salvador 
and where was God when they shot Salvador Allende 
and where was God when we funded apartheid 
and where is God when we commit cultural genocide 
and where is God when we torture innocent people 
for information that will never matter 
my views are scattered 
i want to believe that there is something beyond this 
but there is no circle of hell deep enough for a racist 
or a president whose drones kill children 
or companies who make money off of illegal settlements 
or people who have all of the evidence 
but choose to keep quiet 
we can't expect a riot to just happen 
we need to mobilize ourselves before they dissolve us 
into numb, proud citizens 
and praying won't stop our taxes from deepening the wounds of victims 
it’s funny how those who have seen want to be blind 
so mom, it's going to have to be a no again 
i can't go to church with you this sunday 
because if there's anything i believe in 
it's the power of a determined people 
not of any divine priest under a steeple
Poem performed at Bowdoin College, May 4, 2013 by the author. Reprinted here with her permission.

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