tomorrow is May Day

I wish that I could go with
my political instinct
and call in sick tomorrow

to stand in solidarity
to march for workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights
(also known as our right to be mothers,
fathers, sisters, brothers, lovers, friends;
our right to live; our right to move
freely, our right to be human)

but there are people who need me
to make phone calls, to send
email, to meet, to listen

it is hard to think of how
i will explain that i was
absent for the sake of the
greater good

a day off work for me could
mean the difference between
cold concrete and a bed

strange how the world makes
us make these choices,
a world that will give
me money to help find places
to put people who have little or none,
to act as a shepherd for those
cast out of the flock,
a world that makes me make
a choice between the person
in need in front of me
and the change we need
all around us

this is the choice, always,
isn’t it? we weigh which path
will weigh least upon our
consciences and in the end
our backs still bow
with the burden.

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