I mourn the spirit whose body is still here.

It lays on the bed with a rising and falling chest.

He’s not here, nor heaven, nor hell. But somewhere

Between the wind and the skyscrapers with working men in their fifties.

In the line of the horizon where the sky meets the sea.

He’s floating with the hawks above the suburban homes and children’s soccer fields.

He’s flying under the cars that move like molasses on the 405 laughing at the drivers damning

lane 3. I don’t know what he’s waiting for, but his spirit seems like it’s already home. 


The one whom we oppress

Fights for our freedom


He is not a native

So othered he becomes


Did he become one of us

When he laced up his issued combat boots?


Or when the Iranian dirt

Whipped him across the face?


Or did he become one of us

When he became the sniper’s target?


Once he became cargo flown back on a plane

He became one of us.




Mommy wakes me up for school by singing “Good Morning to You”


                                    She wakes me up to work by pulling my blanket off


I like Eggos on Fridays with syrup and milk


                                    I don’t get breakfast because I didn’t whisper the words he asked me to


We pray in the car for my spelling test


                                    I pray that it doesn’t hurt today


I tell myself it’s going to be a good day


                                    I tell myself that it’s going to be a bad day


Miss Tamra tells me to sit with my table group


                                    He wants more than me


We read in a circle and color our worksheets


                                    We put on little dresses that make me feel dirty


Mommy drives me home and I play with my dolls


                                    We whisper to each other in the room until he enters


I hear the front door open and I run down the stairs


                                    His boots smack angrily on the tile floor


I call out for daddy


                                    He makes us call him daddy



The woman writing in the window is no longer there

She doesn’t walk through the farmer’s market on Saturday

To buy her tulip seeds

Nor does her long skirt get blown up from the

Subway steam


No, she doesn’t sing in the garden

With dirt making residence under her nails

She doesn’t sit with her left leg tucked under her right

Birthing poems to elevate her burdened words


She doesn’t wrap her fingers around your neck

And press her forehead to yours

To look into the shadows of your eyes to tell you

“It’s gonna be alright.”



You tell yourself that you’re burdened by busy

A slave to the schedule

That’s why you don’t stop.


You tell yourself that other people probably helped

That he was already given a meal

That’s why you don’t stop.


You tell yourself he is an addict

He did this to himself

That’s why you don’t stop.



You tell yourself you can’t trust him to be close

He might hurt you.

That’s why you don’t stop.


You tell yourself that there are organizations

To help people like him

That’s why you don’t stop.


You tell yourself that he has a group of friends

Just like himself

That’s why you don’t stop.


You tell yourself that he doesn’t seem cold

He doesn’t need your coat.

That’s why you don’t stop.


Tonight he is going to die

If you don’t stop.