Political, poem by James R. Whitley

    It’s not lost on me that,
    in a less-enlightened time or
    just a more conservative place,
    you would have been executed,

    stoned or beheaded for having
    so many children out of wedlock,
    for lying with so many men, those
    would-be fathers resisting their labels.

    Mama morta, perhaps giving birth
    is itself an act of martyrdom—
    the granting of life that demands
    the sacrifice of so many freedoms.

    And so I thank you.
    And even as fields glow with
    the debris of children, of charred lives,
    a blood-stained burka hovering
    over the horizon like a ghost,

    I bless this country of red streets,
    white gods and blue blood, this country
    of questionable behaviors where,
    even in these strained times,

    we are free
    to make several grievous mistakes
    and treat them as if
    we have nothing to apologize for.

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Ann Fraser