Poem with Lines from Carlos Bulosan’s “Letter in Exile”

When we heard the news, 
we thought of you, sister. Of you,
mother; and grandmother choosing
the quiet hours of morning to walk
to the neighborhood store. It isn't
unknowing that we practice. 
And silence, despite what they'll say, 
is not  our preferred language. 
Grandmother is 75 and she 
picked up a wooden plank—
her rage: the sound of it smacking  
the face of the white man 
who punched her, unprovoked, 
in the eye. Hate is not an abstraction. 
Try pushing  your own face into 
the sidewalk under the weight 
of your own boot. Try sighting 
down a cold bore at your own 
contorted face before you pull 
the trigger.  We are still here 
burning with a thousand fevers, 
though now more discerning.


- "Letter in Exile," Carlos Bulosan (1942)

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