He sent for granite, limestone, quartz, and slate,
And sourced the rock from mines across the land,
So all America could fabricate
The racist wall he spitefully had planned.
The hammers hit, the chisels chopped, the splitters slashed;
The wall was built with optimum technique.
Sweat streaked down builders’ faces light as ash
And smooth as hickory and dark as teak.
But when the final rock was hit in place,
There rang a sound—not from the hammer’s head;
A rising hum that started to displace
The prejudice: a song of love instead.
He tried to build a wall, but up we soared,
And welcomed all new immigrants aboard.


Some never had to wake to see the truth
Of who we were, or how we came to be
In this position. Nature had no tooth
Like underneath the smile of history;
It had the blood still on it. It was white,
And sharp, and bared defending property.
It never promised anything so light
As calm without inflicting casualties.
By now we all know how it worked, the noose
Of how it promised friendship, set us up
For freedom. Now its mouth is coming loose,
Its spittle dangling, rage-mad, dander up.
And in response, the kick replaces play;
In rabid times, the dog corners the day.


The symptoms start as stomach disagreeing
With heart, or muscles losing circulation
Where once the blood was red, a palpitation
The eyes—or is it brain?—a narrowed seeing,
And then a fever mounts, delusion speaks
In rash outbursts, the nervous limbs go hot
Or cold, base motor functions failing, not
Under control of mind. State organs seize.
We dreamed the body politic as system,
Created by exceptional solution,
And granted deep immune response to errors
Genetic to all empire—we could list them!—
But now we dream of mortal dissolution,
And ask, is this old age, or some new terror?