If They Come

They’ve come before
Different times, different places
Always leaving behind traces
Of inhumanity.

Some remember,
State the parallels,
Recite the historical,
Are laughed at as the hysterical.

The majority, who will say–
They come not in his name
For they wear not the robes of the arcane,
Burning crosses straight and twisted.

Some forget,
Leaving voices unraised.
Some simply care not,
Since they come not for them.

Darkness imprisoned for years
Revels and romps now freed from sanctions,
Freed from society’s guilty tears.

If they should come
For the disabled ones
To mock and who knows what more,
To be neutered and spayed
Corralled into stalls

To swallow pills and stare
At mint green cinder block walls?
All to hide such shame
From society’s eyes
The words home and school provide
A little comfort and the lies.
I will raise my voice, “What you do to them do to me too.
For how can I be perfectly abled in your mind?”

If they should come
For the immigrant ones
To part them from jobs no one else will do
With shouts of “Build a wall. Build a wall.”
I will raise my voice, “Build it around me as well.
For I, too, believed the words inscribed upon Liberty,
Believed this was the place
Of a better life, of dreams made true.”

If they should come
For the Muslim ones,
Planning to throw mud in the face of Geneva,
With their unproven facts and shouts of “Terrorist. Jihadist.”
I will raise my voice, “Take me with them too.
For I also pray to the God of Abraham.”

If they should come again
For the darker ones,
With ropes and whips and epithets from the past,
Shouting, “White Power, White Power.”
I will raise my voice, “Bring enough to kill me too.
For I have the same red blood as my siblings you seek to kill.”

If they should come again
For the transgender and queer ones,
With fists and broken bottles and shouts of “Freak.”
I will raise my voice, “Beat me as well.
For I am sure to upset you by the bathroom I plan to use.”

If they should come for the gay ones,
the bisexual, my lesbian sisters and me,
With researched plans of electric shock to convert
All therapeutic to change, of course,
Or with hands dripping violence and shouts
Of every demeaning word we ever heard.
I will raise my voice, “Beat me. Take my rights
so recently given, though long denied.
Never will I lose my dignity again in silence.
For I hid among shadows much too long.
Now, I, too, live in the sun,
Proud of who I love, and I will not go away.
I remember we are neighbors,
Each of us, brothers and sisters
In God’s eyes.

Will you realize when you came for one,
You came for us all?
All you deem different,
Dangerous to your thinking,
We make you uncomfortable.
But we give you something,
Someone to blame.

But after you have come for us all,
Bound and bloodied us as best you can,
Taught your school children the different are to blame,
Worthy of nothing but your hate,
Our resistance,
Without striking, without killing,
No sling shot will we need
To make your injustice
Crystalline for all the world to see.

When the day of God’s light
Does come once again
Perhaps you will look
Beyond skin
Beyond abilities and disabilities
Beyond roads to God and ways of worship
Beyond gender and orientations
Beyond your own fears and needs
The human heart is born
With weakness in hate and greed
With strength in justice and love
All in equal portions.

What will matter most,
When each heart lies dissected,
Splayed open, bare,
Before its maker,
Is which portion we allowed to atrophy and die.
And which we sought to exercise,
Strengthen and increase in size.

Published by

Annette Kalandros

I am a retired teacher, enjoying everything that retirement means. In addition, I have been active in the LGBTQ community since I was four years old and marched my Ken doll with all his little Ken accouterments to the big metal trash can in the yard. Yes, I dumped Ken, along with said accouterments, into the can and slammed the lid on. My two Barbie dolls lived happily ever after.

4 thoughts on “If They Come”

  1. Absolutely beautiful – and my thoughts as well (written in a manner that is SO much more powerful). What talent! Thanks for writing and sharing.

    Jumped over from Tammy’s reblog, btw.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Quote ‘When you came for one, you came for us all’

    Powerful- the very thrust behind all the protests happening throughout the world. I love that you wrote this, I love the poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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