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Monday, February 15, 2021


by Imogen Arate

Dying stars burn the brightest

Europe's birth rate is falling
Italian towns offer abandoned 
homes on the cheap

Even in a COVID year
nearly 1-0-0-0 
wo/men and children
died on the Mediterranean
in pursuit of safety

The Sonoran took its biggest gulp
in 10 years
as desiccated remains are picked
from between its gritty teeth
to stage a caravan

One in five American households
speaks a language other than English
but my people can’t get in a
Best-Pic nominee
without the label “foreign”

Be grateful that you are now 
presented with a choice between 
Black and    White

Prostrate melaniferous bodies 
weave into a shroud
covering the distance between 
George Floyd and today

Be grateful for crumbs that drop
from the high table
as we scramble
and gladiate in spectacle
for droppings

Half a million seemed like 
an impossible number
Last year   Valentine’s Day
was still lonely 
but in person

Be grateful
Why aren’t we grateful
Why are we so ungrateful
We are given a choice now
Isn’t it enough

A cloth cover is the real
hindrance to liberty
The 2020 “I voted” sticker
a high-priced memorabilia
for the lives risked
to those other than minorities
forced hyphenation 
worn as a crown
trudge past other saintly feasts
lay bare the sacrifice

Be grateful for the little things
The big ones are for the rarified
the falling birth rate
the fear of extinction
I guess they always knew

Dying stars burn the brightest
rage against the dying of the light

Imogen Arate is an award-winning Asian-American poet and writer and the Executive Producer and Host of the weekly poetry podcast Poets and Muses. She has written in four languages and published in two. Her work was most recently featured in the Global Poemic, Rigorous and The Hong Kong Review.