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, firstname.lastname@example.org