La Mano (Nowhere Poetry and Flash Fiction)

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La Mano (The Hand)

Excuse me! Excuse me!

Do you speak English?!

Do. You. Speak. English?!

Crouched down and tiptoe stepping towards me.

Arms held out and wide-eyed with surprise.

It was so convincing I almost had the urge

to lunge and bite at her hand.

Yes, I speak English.

An immediate upright and an


Is how my night started once.

Me attempting to help a stray dog.

The great white hope attempting to help me.

So long as I wasn’t rabid. So long as I could speak her language.

So long as I didn’t bite.

I didn’t bite and she left smiling. Comfortable and happy with herself. Helping me and the starving beast.

I left, head shaking.

We see how you glorify your outstretched hand.

Trembling and body shrinking so you don’t get bitten.

So you don’t succumb to something darker than you.

We read between the lines

and the poorly veiled racism.

We see the fear that seeps

from your defensiveness and hate. The way it battles

with your desire to feel good about yourself.

We call you on it.

We tear down walls.

We exhibit works expounding objective merit.

We become your objective merit.

It’s ok. Don’t worry.

I do speak English.

But I tangle with you and

I ride the beast you’re frightened of.

The one that bites.

The one that gets your job.

The one that takes your poem’s place.

The one you don’t want to understand.

I see you.

I see you.

I see you.

And I believe you. Every fucked word you say.

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