Return to Sender

Photo: Mooch Cassidy. CC-BY-NC-ND

Reads a sign at a nativist protest—

As if Sender were some other
colony, christened for the white
ex-C.E.O.’s son, Xander, the X
softened for a Global South tongue, out
of respect for newer dialects, & the vowel
brought low as expectations are smothered.
As if American tongues were acid enough
to lash stamps equally
to skin or document or wing
& not turn waxen in the sun. As
if, back in Sender, a lover lives
careful by candlelight with whom
he mails his missives. & not mannequins
with downlit grins, neon avatars for mug
shots, froth on random fora, afraid
to use their God-given name. As if a cage
on the southern border was an envelope,
& a crumpled torso made for mesh bins
instead of flying—instead, the fire
escapes the wick. As if oaktag
was policy. As if, once delivered by
men in royal blue, America
opened & amended
the spelling in red ink—
as if America was an English teacher—
as if it’s red ink and not blood.
As if a red X marks the spot,
an open wound on a folded map
of where we’ll next invade, when really
it’s algebraic: enter country here—
a cross, a letter, an unknown known.
As if, crossing themselves, American hands

could move any distance without tearing up

whoever it is
—they’re holding.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, the content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.