How hard it is to take a side.
Where I live, we are tribes
Of rich and poor, and in-betweens.
We are tribes of different colors.
We are descended from chinks called insects,
From older tribes we try to genocide,
We are descended from the conqueror-rapists
And from the conquered and raped.
We are the children of pillage and fire,
Holding our hands hopelessly out
For a handout of peace,
For some scant rights to breathe
This air we all share with ease.
We are the progeny of conflict,
Of internecine wars—over what,
We were never truly told. It could
Have begun as a taunt over some
Old coot’s jughandled ears,
Or some princessy disdain
Over bad breath.
It could have been land with
A fruitful tree that all would own,
Or it could have been a well
Where the water was sweeter
Than anywhere else.
It could even have been
Over the name of God,
Or whether we pray
On our knees in genuflection,
Or with foreheads to the ground
In submission to the Almighty.
It could even have been because
We pray with feet rooted in earth
As we dare to stretch our
Puny fingers to the sky.
How hard it is
To take a side
When every side
Holds part of who we are.
And, in the wishing,
And in war
It matters not
How same we are.
In death, there is no difference:
Our meat and blood are the same
Deeply sorrowed red.