Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Poem of the Week: Joseph Ross

If You Leave Your Shoes

.........A response to Arizona’s law SB 1070

If you leave your shoes

on the front porch

when you run

to the city pool

for swimming lessons,

you might end up

walking across the sand

of the desert in

scorched feet,

bare, like the prophets,

who knew what it was

to burn.

If you leave your lover

to run to the market

for bread and pears

you might return

to find your lover

gone and the bed

covered with knives,

hot and gleaming from

a morning in the sun.

If you leave your country

in the wrong hands,

you might return to

see it drowning in blood,

able to spit

but not to speak.

-Joseph Ross

Used by permission.

Joseph Ross is a poet, working in Washington, D.C., whose poems have been published in many journals and anthologies including Poetic Voices Without Borders 1 and 2, Poet Lore, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and Full Moon on K Street. He co-edited Cut Loose the Body: An Anthology of Poems on Torture and Fernando Botero’s Abu Ghraib for D.C. Poets Against the War. He has given readings in Washington, D.C.’s Miller Cabin Poetry Series and in the Library of Congress’ Poetry-at-Noon Series. He teaches in the College Writing Program at American University in Washington, D.C.

Ross appeared on the panel Gay and Lesbian Poetry in the 40th Year Since Stonewall: History, Craft, Equality during Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2010.

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