Immigrant Ghazal

Dear tufted seed lying in the maw of thunder, I raise my cup to be blessed.
Which isn't the same as raising my right hand to swear allegiance.

A hall filled with immigrants like me lined up in the spring cold, on the sidewalk.
Some clutched little flags, craned toward the endpoint of fearing allegiance.

Instead of a psalm, an invocation was read: all heads bowed—the turbaned,
the bareheaded, the veiled. Then the pledge, its own prayer of allegiance.

What nations, what lands, what republics did we all come from?
We haven't stopped arriving—we who are called to bear allegiance.

What Liberty holds isn't a cup of lightning. Torch-fire, shreds of old glory.
Flame to be fed more brilliance by immigrants like us who swear allegiance. 

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