Open Letter to a Lady

Open Letter to a Lady


by Troy Bigelow


Some of us douse the fire of the torch, Lady.

Some of us black out the sympathetic harbor—we are

not in agreement, Lady Liberty, never


in agreement on who and how to absorb the poor and weary

bombed out of homes in Basra—Syrian people not sleeping

but lying cold and awake in a Turkish camp.


Hungry people are dying cold doomed homeless,

and some of us say it is too dangerous to help;

Lady, they make you stand with a raised octagon:


four white letters on a field red as a bloodletting:

STOP, Lady Liberty, in your right hand in a harbor,

harbinger of sorrow, a burned out light on a hill.


Some of us sit and drink glasses of wine,

cuddle beneath soft electric blankets,

and feel sad about the huddle of refugees,


but I don’t think we really understand, Lady,

the little girl so hungry she cannot


stop trying to scream through the cramp

where the food once was.


Some of us export rockets and missiles and earn the refuge

of gated mansions and armed security guards and walls

ten million dollars deep, from waging the business of peace


in lands we will never really see on TV, where a little boy’s

left leg was blown through his father’s bedroom door,

but his sister still has the chance to starve some more.


There are some, Lady, who want a door and a wall

to bear a sign that says, KEEP OUT in letters

the size of the book in your left hand, red letters


painted high and mighty enough to maintain our safety

against starving, fleeing, displaced and desperate daughters

and sons of men and women who might be radical killers.


Refuge is a dream that we, Lady Liberty, can cut off

in their sleep; so many more line up to be refuted

by the land of the free—we create more refugees.


Troy Bigelow,

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