And I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don’t want any greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood. I want to keep it alive by keeping justice alive. —Albert Camus

When children by gunfire die,
When the dreamer and the warden clash,

When statues betray the sculptor, we proclaim
This is not who we are.

Who are we?

I take my chisel to Plymouth Rock
But the rock gives no blood;

Our history is like that stone,
Heavier than its weight…

Standing at a dank underpass, I rattle
A tin cup, wave a sign that reads

This is not who we are—

I can grow rich here, devote my life
To the pursuit of happiness…

It is said that upon his murder, Lincoln belonged
To the ages: Why do we wait for blood?

We’ve planted great forests of headstones.
I wander their lush paths, the sanguine streams,

And amidst this grandeur, this horror,
I glimpse both what is and what could be.

Image credit:Patrick Perkins

Andy Posner grew up in Los Angeles and earned an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides financial services to low-income families. When not working, he enjoys reading, writing, watching documentaries, and ranting about the state of the world. He has had his poetry published in several journals, including Burningword Literary Journal (which nominated his poem ‘The Machinery of the State’ for the Pushcart Poetry Prize), Noble/Gas Quarterly, and The Esthetic Apostle.