with a hand on my heart

i pledge allegiance to step forth
when asked to step down, to hold no flag
to hold this generation tight
make them accountable for apathy
(apathy=death) you see their faces everyday.

to remember the children
lost in the name of false allegiance
i pledge allegiance to anger
letting it blossom into something more than fruit
to eat beautiful.
because i know what it smells like to be spring.

one of the lucky ones, i pledge allegiance
to the human body, still attached
from birth to death. pledging for each one
i said i loved until death do us part
sweet sorrow, i lie parallel to you.
you, my country, have no right to speak
on behalf of the world.

I was inspired after reading Safia Elhillo’s masterful poem, Self-Portrait with No Flag. It comes to mind every morning lately when I need to stand for the pledge with my students from around the world. The hypocrisy is striking in relation to our current domestic and foreign policy objectives. So my loyalty is to the small ones, to the next generation. May we teach them to know their own self-worth, no matter their origin.

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7 thoughts on “with a hand on my heart

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