a new national anthem

a new national anthem

when anyone says, “immigrants built America”
I am reluctant to comment

Because “immigrant” implies choice
implies well-calculated decisions for better lives on greener pastures
implies we were not forced from homes, or enslaved, or lied to

It says our trails were made of everything but tears
states that we were always whole and not ¾
reminds me our railroads weren’t hammered by jade hearts
tells me we have no right to mourn or question or be anything but grateful

We don’t say that there were no more options
that poverty forced families to fragment
like disposable chopsticks my grandmother still never throws away

that our culture and history is diluted
categorically flawed by its very nature

because immigrants didn’t build this country
we stole it.

And made refugees,
and slaves,
and victims,
into citizens