Psalm 55 by Fred Mecklenburg

On hearing that Trump excluded Muslim refugees on Holocaust Remembrance Day…
my country is a country
of robbery and trespass
forgive us lord
forgive us our trespasses
and the refugees we demanded
of the Iroquois Cherokee Sioux
Yoruba Asante
Filipinos Hawaiians
Vietnamese Afghans Iraqis
a hundred more
these cities of burning young
the dead poets in our robes
of honor
and the dead honor in our poets
lord forgive us our shaming
of the mother of exiles
the dousing of the harbor lights
human cargo fed the tempest
as was done to the least
will be done to us
as the woe due to those by whom
the offense came again
and those refugees from evils
forgive us the St. Louis driven sea
to unfathomable shore
to cold sea fog to terminus
I spent Holocaust Remembrance Day
hearing magnificent cantor Sirota
who perished in the uprising
of the Warsaw Ghetto
Psalm 55 forgive us lord
forgive us Idlib and Aleppo
Raqqa and Wadi Barada
forgive us Kafranbel
and Maarat al-Numan
forgive us our blindness to the death
of our souls
and forgive us our forgetfulness
and disregard
of human suffering
forgive us these politics of 1933
reenacted 2016
forgive us lord your justice
poured out
a fiery rain upon our heads
forgive us in the tank columns
rolling down State Street
in the camps we’ll be sent to
out on the chill prairies
in the innocent blood flooding
our golden wheat
forgive us
forgive us lord in betrayal
a smiling neighbor
and a knife
and the blade less deadly
than that reaper’s mouth
but hey forgive me too man
I hardly know you
just the button and the MAGA cap
to unleash a wolf pack
you say you’ll leave me unharmed
but your president’s pen
was drawn through my heart
to sign
our country away
and forgive us lord
the barriers
thrown up on street corners
and the guards checking IDs
colors names and religions
forgive us
for turning from forgiveness
once offered
our choice between ascension
and the maelstrom
badly made
forgive us lord
forgive us
as something fine disappears forever
up the ass of its crimes

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