The Immigrant Thinks of State Slogans

We didn’t come here
for the advertised welcome,

for the billboards that say
Virginia is for Lovers or Big

Sky or Liberty & Prosperity,
The Way Life Should Be

Though they sold us
more than a century ago

with talk of milk and honey,
we’ve known only the strife

of the wary, the constant
sacrifice of both our innate

beauty and capacity for sadness:
as if, if we worked long and hard

enough, we’d hew a dwelling
out of our bravest hopes

and ambitions; as if, if we
turned the other cheek or shut

our eyes, our parents would not
be handcuffed and taken away

by border agents; as if our nomad
hearts could find a place to arrive.

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