Except we were in love, or so it seemed.
The refugees kept streaming past, the cops
kept shooting up the neighborhood. Except
it seemed that we were happy, pulled the shades
and set aside our textbooks, brushed our teeth.
The honor killings went unpunished, while
we aged together, holding hands as we
succumbed to sleep. It seemed that life was good,
except Black mothers kept on dying young.
We said our vows in church, and afterwards
it seemed that queers were harmless, even mattered.
The loved ones in our photographs gazed back
at us, or at each other, or beyond.
Except the virus struck, the pipeline burst,
the hurricane made landfall, killing thousands.
We splurged on business class, as if the wine
at thirty thousand feet could taste more sweet.
Except that they worked hard, but since their son
OD’d it seemed that it was pointless now.
The oligarchs kept stealing from the state,
the politicians blamed the poor. Except
the lamp light glowed, and music streamed as if
the Internet was limitless and magical,
as if we knew that anything for which
we searched was certain to be found. We watched
a baseball game on television, just
like anybody else. It seemed like we
were normal when the garden needed watering,
while elsewhere, in the desert someone was
interrogated, beaten, kidnapped, raped.
Except it didn’t happen here, but there.
Except it happened not to us, but them.
Except the sunset from our porch refused
again to be the last, so damn beautiful.