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Sunday, May 16, 2021


by Amy Shimshon-Santo

“i don’t understand why people keep choosing fascism.” —my mother. 

my words are knots, 
while I need parachutes. 

sleepless from threading imaginary-strategies 
potential sentences to disrupt the state. 

try lots of periods. . . . . .
put the [killers in brackets]

some writers spin enviable lines,
bumper sticker responses 

at the ready, 
then go out for cappuccino.

as if the correct terminology 
could bring back the dead 

my body is tangled,  
it can’t sleep for grieving

my head shakes, 
remembering do Nascimento’s lyric
eu sou america do sul,
eu sei você não vai saber.
same with everywhere,
imperial windows barely see in

much less out. do something, her body said
the world is on fire

you can only change what you touch 
how can a mom bring down a fascist state? 

massage therapists post information
on demonstrations, they sing

bring flowers, 
and are dragged on the ground by police

fascism comes in all flavors
styles and sizes

anyone can be a fascist
two for one, on sale now

maybe anyone
can be a freedom fighter too.

I want to stop the war
words were supposed to make the world

but mine roar within 
i misspell lines, small lions

the people who are doing the fighting 
are the ones who must stop.

i want to make them
let's see, i have hot water and a barrel of lemons

try! use your words
stop a war with your body

“we are not all that powerful, “ h says. “its ok,
we are not built for that.”

but my body, made of moon dust 
cells and pillage histories believes it is

it dreams of becoming 
big as a u.n., an i.c.c. — BIGGER!

a small body, dreams of being 
a body of power

she is more  
like a garden bird 

small and two-footed,
feathered with emotion
while history wears 
boots and helmets

carries rifles, barges in
drops bombs and burns

“we will get crushed 
if we try to carry the world,” h says. 

but that is what the body feels 
responsible for

how does a mother 
stop a war? 

"the people who are bombing must stop," 
the mother stirs, but we must find a way to stop them

Amy Shimshon-Santo is a poet and educator who believes that culture is a powerful tool for personal and social transformation. Her interdisciplinary work connects the arts, education, and urbanism. She is the author of Even the Milky Way Is Undocumented (Unsolicited Press, Pushcart Prize & Rainbow Reads Award nominee).