the more i learn, the more i learn
i don’t know what the fuck
i’m talking about. someone
who doesn’t care a fig for poetry
might think i knew a lot
yet in most bookshops i’m lost,
shelves heavy with the bodies
of forgotten writers. it’s relative.
a president can say audacity or
a president can say sad & both eat
the slow-cured meat of empire.
when i say i carry my people
inside me i don’t mean a country.
the star that hangs from my neck
is simply a way of saying israel
is not a physical place but can be
written down & carried anywhere.
it says my people are most beautiful
when moving, when movement,
when our only state is the liquid
state of water, is adapting to our container.
homeland sometimes just means
what books you’ve read, what stories
you spread with your sneakers.
my people, any place you live
long enough to build bombs
is a place you’ve lived too long—
it’s relative. my friends, the only
thing i know for sure is the missiles
on television are only beautiful
if you’ve never known suffering.
my friends, the only country i will ever
pledge my allegiance to
is your music, is under investigation
Excerpted from Pig by Sam Sax. Copyright © 2023 by Sam Sax. Reprinted with Permission of Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. This poem previously appeared in the American Poetry Review.