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 poems have appeared in many print and online journals. His most recent books are To Get Our Bearings in this Wheeling World, and Cancer Cantata. With his wife Cynthia, he produced the award-winning documentary film "Outside In," and with the MIRC film collective, made the film "Por Que Venimos." His interviews with soldiers refusing to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan were made into the book "About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War." He lives in northern California. Read other articles by Buff.