the border is the wound

i will not let my heart

shrink to the size of my oppressor’s

i will stay soft


i will pray with dignity 

for the absolute freedom of all humans

from hatred and the myth of separation


i will dance pure love upon the moon

so far from my oppressor

that i can return with her heart


here is how i practice


in war i keep the dead unsegregated

dreaming together their spirits 

who know what flesh cannot


i shake off monoliths

i ask, right now, who are the prisoners 

and who are their guards


i do not let those

at peace with oppression

tell me i am heartless


i do not perform my grief

— i weep freely at the altar

i pray up their names 


i critique abroad what i critique at home 

i know every aspect of my freedom 

is unexpected here, still precarious


i see all the humanity 

the mistakes, the narrow sharp lives

left in the wake of trauma


i know my country well

we always think our motives invisible

we are always naked


in my hands are thousands of rivers

pain, confusion, misinformation, fury

but…the eyes of those children watch me


i start at the freshest cut

as the earth whispers:

the border is the wound