It’s seven past midnight / There’s a crackling in the sky / I mean a nuke in the sky / There’s a bed of nine dead lilies in my face / I mean a bed of nine dead bodies in the mosque //
There are scared children clinging to my skirt / I mean scared children looking for a familiar hand to hold / There are empty voting ballots / I mean empty voting booths / There are no hospitals / I mean not enough hospitals to house our souls / There are fires everywhere / I mean no clean water to whet a dog’s tongue //
There is hell all around me / Demons crawling up my thighs / Encircling my throat / Grandmamas praying my soul free / Being caught up in the rapture by their knee highs / Mamas laying hands on wombs / Made barren by genocide / Siblings clinging to the scraps of foreign flags / Native here is worse than foreigner there / Hopes cast up on a raining cloud of acid / Burning into the skin of the pulpit / Legislators crying rich, feeble tears / Soaking the bodies of the poor and marginalized in gasoline //
Sorrow soon finds life in me / Guttural sobs fight their way from my chest / Burning patches of airless daggers into my lungs / I can feel the chariots stir within the rosary resting in my hands / And just before my hands move to my mouth to swallow the beads whole / And escape the misery //
My eyes catch the glimmer of an old oak tree / Being hit and cut and assaulted with this divine collection of a people / As I caress its rings with my eyes / I am drawn to the network of roots clenching violently to the flesh of the earth / Silently promising to never let go /
And I ask myself /
If a tree can stand rooted in disaster, who am I to run from it? //
My heart leapt / Najya, we will not back down / My soul cried / Najya, we can’t back down / My legs began to buckle / Najya, we can’t afford to back down / My eyes were called by the sun / Najya, we need you to not back down / My body lifted / Najya, we are counting on you. /
And then I woke up.
My ancestors fed me this dream
So that I can feed a country who is too blind to eat.