When you said give me your tired, your poor,
did you ever mean the mothers you keep
awake at night waiting for their sons to come home
or not, the sick you refuse to insure?
Can you explain the logic in bootstraps
when so many of us are walking barefoot?
When you turn your head, how
stiff is your neck, please describe
your pain, & who will hook you up
with the right drugs? The numbers
on television, the body counts, the morgues
in vans—what will you do with them
besides roll them around in your mouth
& spit them in our unmasked faces?
How do you expect people to wash their hands
without water? Who should be washing their hands?
Of what? Do you believe in karma?
When another pastor refuses to cancel
the service then dies, who says the prayer?
Lisa Summe is the author of Say It Hurts (YesYes Books, December, 2020). She earned a BA and MA in literature at the University of Cincinnati, and an MFA in poetry from Virginia Tech.