Poetry

A Dangerous World

To see the world through another’s eyes
is a dangerous thing,
the loneliness of a mother
as the child slips away,
the desperation of a child
when a parent blinks out
or flees
or just doesn’t understand.

To own their sorrows
and know their secrets
is despair and fear.

I am not a refugee in a leaky boat;
I am not hungry searching through garbage,
I am not black or brown living in a ghetto;
I am not a shop owner wary of each customer;
I am not a woman fearing rape;
I am not an immigrant seeking a better life;
I am not gay afraid to come out;
I am not an old white man watching Fox News;
I am not poor and working two jobs;
I am not oppressed for my religion or race;
I am not a black man fleeing a uniform;
I am not a cop wanting to see my kids grow up;
I am not a black woman pregnant and alone;
I am not a single mother watching her child off to school;
I am not a soldier facing an unseen enemy;
I am not a bride seeing death from the sky;
I am not a debt-ridden farmer with dead fields;
I am not a breast-cancer survivor;
I am not disabled;
I am not homeless.

He watches the cars
go past,
the drivers stopped,
looking away
at anything but him
and his cardboard sign.