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
AMERICA! BRIGHT COASTS NEW DREAMS did we
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,
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.