NO END

Some mornings as the sun streams across the bedclothes
and the cat’s hot body presses against my back
and I lie safe and blessed
the terrible old question arises again:
why do I have this life, and not some other?

I could be a Nigerian migrant, jammed into a leaky boat
off the shores of Greece
I could be a mother in a refugee camp, giving birth in a tent,
or a Syrian child who has to labor in the potato fields

Possibilities are almost endless.
Tell me, why am I safe and warm here when at this very moment
a woman somewhere is having her genitals cut?
And why aren’t I the undocumented Mexican, stumbling through snow
to get to the Canadian border?
Or the boy outside Rio scrambling on a steaming garbage dump,
scavenging for metal?
Why am I lying here while that other old woman, born the same year
is lying on the pavement in Lahore?

For that matter, nearer home, there’s the old friend going blind,
and the other one who is
quietly losing what’s left of her mind.
You don’t have to look far: suffering is plentiful,
inequity everywhere
It’s like the Sahara, encroaching on the land,
the sands advancing further each season
over the barren fields.

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