“If they can kiss you, they can kill you”

~ after Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

They can tell you that you need
to dismantle what they’ve just

watched you build. One by one,
every last beam and board.

The square of concrete laid
on the earth. And after you’ve

done what they want, they can still
slap another fine on top of that.

History is a long record of the same
words stacked from a common playlist.

Farmers in bean and garlic fields, men
sorting fish in canneries. You’re told

nothing hums in the desert though you’ve
coaxed green to life with your brown hands.

Nothing blinks in the sky, not even the god
of water— so you dig your own wells

even in the throes of death. But first
the heel of a spade is a spoon is a one-

way ticket to some part of the world
you’re allowed to shine with your spit.

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