the president of the united states of america
signed on the dotted line
an executive order
halting the country’s refugee programme
indefinitely suspending admission of syrian refugees
vetoing for the next three months the entrance of those who had travelled to certain countries since march 2011:
for now.
you said
you didn’t want to let the threats in
the ones your soldiers are fighting overseas
but you don’t understand
refugees are not the threat
they are the threatened.
you say you want only to admit those who will
support your people
love deeply your country
i say
it is not your country
and you don’t know what love is.
this is stolen land
did you forget
the blood of the indigenous peoples
your ancestors
spilled, seeping into the soil
they trod heavily when they arrived
immigrants like the syrians you reject
perhaps you assume all immigrants
kill and rape
seize and murder.
and you
and i
all refugees in the making
contingent on circumstance
floating between possibility and actuality
with every second of every borrowed breath.
but it is not your dying child from whom you will beg forgiveness
not your brother you will leave unburied
not your parents you will lose even before death takes them.
knowing this you act in your mothy fragility
accept the opportunity to cause
your own worst enemy.
as for love
a word you flicked like a weightless paper pellet
a reality you cannot access
the one who gave food to someone cold and empty
though they too were cold and empty
the one who saved a life
though theirs was endangered
a hand held
a look given
it sounds at a frequency you cannot hear
but i hear it
and she hears it
and he hears it
and they hear it
and we see you.
Fatima Lahamm


Salem Abdullah Musabih, 6, lies on a bed at a malnutrition intensive care unit at a hospital
in the Red Sea port city of Hodaida, Yemen September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad

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