is this america?

a young white man spends thousands of dollars
buying assault weapons, bullets, and armor
and no one blinks an eye

south asians and middle easterners
trying to pray, go to school, travel
suffer searches and surveillance and harassment

police learn to pull triggers but are not trained
to see through their panic and discern the difference
between a threat and an innocent

Mike Cho, Kenneth Chamberlain, Oscar Grant, Kendrec McDade, Andy Tran and Manuel Diaz
are only a few of the names on the too-long list of murders
committed by those supposed to protect and serve

in some states it is easier to buy guns
than get birth control, health care, access to a voting booth,
or ethnic studies (also known as the full account of history)

politicians are quicker to spend money sending
soldiers across the globe than to put food onto
a single mother’s table or a book in a child’s hands

i search for a way to understand all this,
and wonder how we can be surprised that sea levels rise
with so many tears being shed.

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