american is not heaven


she’d carried him across minefields
hid him when the railroad cartons came to ship them into oblivion
protected him on the rez, in the ghetto, township, internment camps
sheltered him in the gulag, killing fields, plantations
carried him to a golden land
on the strength of immigrant dreams
wanting to believe the burning churches
fractured stained glass windows
and soul-raped tenements were nightmares
told to defer her from freedom

but reality is a conspiracy of consciousness held fast by rules
shock keeps her world from expanding beyond
the air conditioner’s whispered ohm
she drops the cold brass ring of her crucifix
gasps for a soothing wind but
theses spaces are vacuums

millions heave the smog of assimilations promises
through iron lungs
while masters sift through honeycombs of indigenous skulls, searching for gold

while monsters seed catacombs of slave larvae
in private prisons and study her kin like
wriggling mariposas on a specimen board

she came to understand
like millions of mourning mothers before her