The Potomac - Poetry and Politics - Ann Garvin
July 2007 - THE POTOMAC

The American I Was
   Reem Shaaban

From our sister Reem holding on in Lebanon

I was American: held the flag
in my mind and my heart pledged
allegiance to the words of the nation
under God. Liberty and justice

and now liberty does not breathe
justice does not speak
and the land, the people
of Lebanon are not one except
in their pain, in their love

of the unseen of the skies
skies that weep bullets and shells
and streets that fly away
with well placed bombs.
no special streets, no special people.
and all with a taste of human wrath.

the American I am is under the Arab
that I am and it whispers during
cease fires, in the unlit nights in the cold shelters.
It was a land and people undivided
a life of justice I had reached out to
in the desperation of fifteen years

all this time, yearned for this:
a ray of light beneath the flag.
And maybe soon Iíll be the American
Iím not once again.

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