That man on the horse

I caught myself. Thinking. Realizing, feeling

More anger for that man on the horse

Than compassion for the man desperate for food.

More contempt for the words “This is not who we are”

Than compassion for the father trying to rescue his child.

More energy for “my country,” repeating its mistakes 

Than for the people our mistakes are hurting. 

I look up and I am one of “them.”

One of whom I am ashamed. One of the ones I scorn.

My taxes pay that man on the horse.

My compassion does nothing for the woman and her child.

I see in his face what I’ve seen before — illness, hate, paranoia, fear.

I don’t recognize as much the agony of the mother

I have never starved. I have never fled a country. 

A sign says “Texas kinda sucks” 

On a street in California.

I think of family in Texas – descendants of the enslaved.

And the Californian who made the sign, 

Likely voted for this president, 

Probably pays the federal taxes 

That pay that man on the horse.

And my privileges place me also

Amid the mass delusion 

That refuses to see itself

In that man on the horse.

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