An old stark miracle, in play again—
man on TV waves his hand, says They….
Doesn’t take much—no pointer to tap
any poster of a horned caricature, no
doctored pix to scare us with
thick black alien eyebrows arched
over yellow malevolent slits, neither
a scroll nor big liquid crystal display—
a vague manual gesture, few words.
He pivots the hand a bit on his wrist
as if to reference a settled business,
to only abstractly portray
the sort of infiltrator we know
infests our terrain. That insistent
hand swats away questions, swats
at airy suggestions of locusts. They….
From his podium he calls the other
some names, leaves the images
to be conjured in the monitor cloisters
that cover the heartland. They….
Fingers toward the sky and palm open,
as if radiating an oath across rivers
ranges plains, as if his broadcast
hand could protect us, could press
on the million trespassers’ ribcages,
barricade us from their blood. They….
His eyes pluck tiny strings in our brains.
He squints for the camera so we’ll see
he’s serious—that stare-at-the-target
aim-your-spear look. Like our forebears
back before Eden played it. Whole folds
under our skulls made for it. They….
The other invades. What else pulls us
so shoulder-to-shoulder, ever?
Our CEO leans close to the mic—
a near-whisper. They—
all those his tight lips invite
to wear the mask of our dread—penned
behind walls and fences, noosed
hooded shaved-headed, suspended,
stripped of existence, at best
sent away. We’ve seen the snippets.
And how many wars ago was it
we were the travelers? We were They—
packed on the roads wharves ships’ decks,
in the stench of the holds, and our faces
in the cold-sear stare of the guards
on the docks. Remember? We shook,
and in our tremor, we knew
what runs deeper than fear. Trust,
the underground river, presses
through the cracks in our broken hearts’ crust,
a trickle at first, could widen and gush,
could wash away the chemical dust,
soak the baked crazed topsoil, welcome
uncountable new roots among us—here,
our bread our wine, our hands to open
the door for each trembling stranger.