At the Protest

guerrilla bands of children hunch down
chalk colorful drawings in block
letters red and yellow and green
street graffiti of diversity, the preemptive shot
fired from this side
I draw my line
collar and sign
across from a wife and husband
who want to make America great again
we protest what others cherish
detest the face unmasked
revealing injured identity
before you cross
and I
lose track
sides mingle
like salt and water
in the IV no one
guarantees we need
but tomorrow we leave
the same doctor
of a parent
the same age
I don’t know who you are
below us are rocks
older than politics
and just as hard
a mile above birds
cannot sense
the tension and the crowds
flags and banners
must look like we’re celebrating
or dancing
we churn
we flow into each other
a bullhorn thrust in my face
a young woman shoved
from the curb
I stand in place
hold my sign
because the fear of what
we are becoming
shakes me

compass needles
tremble left, right
poles wander
where do we go
from this corner
are these beliefs
chalked slogans
destined for ruin
by rain and tennis shoes

can this dance
seen from the right angle
turn better, seconds
when I see you
press toward you
yet from the back
cannot read the sign
you are holding