Psalm for A# 208485031

Salif says you got fat in detention. Brother,
how do you laugh with your teeth showing?
We starved you in Alabama, they burned down
your house, your motorcycle, costs your whole pocket
to call Africa, you won’t call your mother, 
can’t afford three dollar tears. You thought 
handcuff you too hard at JFK? A judge 
in Las Cruces reads the holy word in Micah, 
sets fire to David’s cities of refuge. You
read every night I look to the hills
from where my help will come you look 
to the wall and see twenty men dressed 
like you, concrete and nothing. The Jersey shore
farther out of reach than home, Omar faces east,
his head to the floor, Allah hu’Akbar. You answer, Dieu
est le seul and we share the same sky. You have not seen it
in sixteen months. The sky declares the glory of God, 
you rise before dawn to make breakfast 
for your bunkmates, five hours for a dollar, if
you give yourself to the hungry; work hard
and learn English; confess, atone: I VIOLATED
YOUR BORDERS; plead asylum; may the words
of my lips be acceptable to you; behave!
your night will become as bright as noon. 
You will leave this place, work hard, 
(avoid politics
for fear of fire) 

love mercy when you see a blue sky, 
walk humbly with God. Brother,
it is your turn. Walk away from the dust 
and the stone walls that held you. 
Write a new psalm.

Maya Wahrman

Maya Wahrman is a Client Advocate at the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund in Trenton, after working for two years at Princeton University’s Office of Religious Life developing a new program on religion and forced migration. She graduated from Princeton's Department of History, with certificates in Creative Writing and Near Eastern Studies. Wahrman has had opinion pieces published in the History News Network and the English and Hebrew editions of Haaretz, and has had poetry published in Lilith Magazine, Love, Struggle, Resist, Fifth Wednesday Journal, The Copperfield Review, the Jewish Currents Poetry Anthology Urge, Califragile, Sweet Tree Review, Heartwood Literary Magazine, and Nassau Literary Review.