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Wednesday, September 16, 2020


at the Peace & Justice 2020 (virtual) Fair (Vancouver, U.S.A.)

by Gwendolyn Morgan

Gwendolyn Morgan reads her poem in this video.

this is how it begins
first Light: cheerio song of Robins
loops of blue sky between stars
Eagle whistles before anyone wakes up
prayers in Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew
Chuukese, Cambodian, Russian, Swahili
100 languages spoken here as
the alphabet arcs toward aleph
alleluia of red-breasted Robins
golden dome of Sikh temple
Celtic Cross of Catholic, Presbyterian & Unity Church
Methodist or Lutheran hymns, so many Christians
the Bahá'í and UUs have every symbol represented
even the Pagans are putting peanut butter & raspberry jam
on whole wheat toast before you
who is putting honey on sopapillas, honeycrisp apples,
drinking Masala chai or sweet tea?
who has lost their homes due to fires?
looking at privilege:  who was evicted this week?
who was arrested?
Break it down like the U.S. census
the unmarked car outside the housing complex
“No solicitors” sign outside the apartment door
“I’m not soliciting” the ICE agent says
flashes a gold star or badge with implicit bias
scan the skin color, then license plate
drinking an Americano while they wait for you
Wait! this isn’t justice
the peace & justice fair is on Saturday every year
Sabbath day of rest for everyone
who goes to a synagogue or is Seventh Day
Rainbow Flags flying next to Black Lives Matter
upside down Americana
the Western Bluebirds gather at the river
singing their own prayers, plain song
1000 languages, songs of other species, intersectionality
the watershed of white fragility, white supremacy
unspoken privilege of having more than enough
when the child in front of you hasn’t had breakfast
no money in the purse for groceries, no savings account
no internet access, maybe a chrome book from school
with a sticker of a white llama on it
this child is hungry for more than justice
losing their breath for peace
this is how it begins.

Gwendolyn Morgan is a Pacific Northwest poet and artist who serves in interfaith Spiritual Care in a medical center in the midst of COVID19.  The Clark County Poet Laureate 2018-2020 in Washington State, her third book of poetry Before the Sun Rises is a Nautilus Silver Winner in Poetry. Gwendolyn and her spouse Judy A. Rose focused on poetry and music during a Winter 2020 Centrum Artist Residency. As a multiracial family in a multispecies watershed, they are committed to equity work and inclusion for all.