Tell

Tell your daughters and sons
That the government
Of the United States of America
Gases children, toddlers, and infants
At our southern border
As they cling in terror
To their migrant parents
Who are trying desperately
To escape extreme poverty and violence
And make a better life for their families
In the north.

Tell your sons and daughters
That the government
Of the United States of America
Gives moral and material support
To the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
Waging a vicious war
Against neighboring Yemen,
Slaughtering civilians,
Bombing school buses full of students,
And creating a famine
In which tens of thousands of children
With skeletal bodies, distended bellies, hollow eyes,
And broken hearts
Have quietly wasted away.

Tell your young nieces and nephews
That in the United States of America
Millions of kids
Don’t have a home to live in
And even more go hungry every year,
They get sick more often and see doctors less,
And poverty makes it hard for them
To get to school every day.

Tell your grandchildren
That there is an international agreement
To protect the health and safety and well-being
Of children worldwide
And that the only member of the United Nations
That has not ratified the agreement
Is the United States of America.

After telling,
Wait for questions.

Buff Whitman-Bradley’s newest book is And What Will We Sing? a collection of protest and social justice poems spanning the last 25 years. He podcasts at thirdactpoems.com and lives with his wife, Cynthia, in northern California. Read other articles by Buff.