[from Benjamin Alire Sáenz's Dreaming the End of War, Copper Canyon, 2006]
The Fifth Dream: Bullets and Deserts and Border (excerpt)
. . .
I am the man.
I see clearly. I am
It is me. It has taken me
a long time to know this.
I am a Palestinian.
I am an Israeli.
I am a Mexican.
I am an American.
I am a busboy in a tall building
that is about to collapse.
I am attending a Seder and I am
tasting my last bitter
herb. I am a boy who has learned
all his prayers. I am bowing
toward Mecca in a house
whose roof will soon collapse
on my small frame.
I am a servant. I shine shoes
and wash the feet
of the rich. I am an illegal.
I am a Mexican who hates all Americans.
I am an American who hates all Mexicans.
I am a Palestinian who hates all Israelis.
I am an Israeli who hates all Palestinians.
I am a Palestinian Jew who hates himself.
I am dying of all this knowledge.
I am dying of thirst.
I am a river that will never know water again.
I am becoming dust.
I am walking toward my home.
Mexico City? Washington?
I don't know. I don't know.
I am walking in the desert.
I see that I am reaching a border.
A bullet is piercing my heart.
Dreaming the End of War