No one is asking you to run into the street
with a pot left boiling on your stove.
All that is asked of you is to know
there are people who learned to ride bikes
like you did, with a mother or father’s hand
holding the seat, refusing to let go until
the last moment. They sat in other classrooms
learning about Manifest Destiny
like you did, and how a bill becomes a law
like you did, and memorizing math facts
after Sunday school. Like you did.
But they can’t trace their ancestry back
to an English lord or Irish farmer.
There are no papers at Ellis island.
No one is asking you to charge
the wall with roses. All that is asked
is to hold someone else’s hand, look
them in the eyes long enough to see
in the same direction and cast off
the developing sin of indifference.
© Trapper Markelz 2020
If you enjoyed reading this poem, please consider: