On Boundaries and Knowing My Place

I’ve never been good with boundaries

As a kid, if there was a fence, I’d climb it

If there was a wall, I’d scale it

If there was a space, I’d encroach upon it

If there was a line, I’d cross it

I guess you could say I don’t know my place.

I get so upset when we talk about slavery

As if it is nonexistent—a thing of the past

An embarrassing thing we should hide

Like the Confederate flag (Insert Dixieland here)

Or whispers of ancestors in the KKK (But that’s how he was raised)

Or pictures of segregated water fountains bleached in sepia (See kids, we learned our lesson!)

Slavery dwells among us

As real as terrorism or

Obamacare or


Slavery seeps into our very way of life … and we have allowed it

If you listen, you can hear the cries of the enslaved:

The little girl, only 12

She hasn’t had her first period but she knows men

She ran away from home to escape one kind of bondage

Which she has exchanged for another


The man who risked everything to get his family into this country

And feels desperation and betrayal

As he’s forced to labor sixteen hour days or

His family will be revealed by the very ones he trusted

It’s as American as…

Well…you know

Apple pie, the Super Bowl, Sam’s Club on free sample day

We must listen to the cries of the oppressed

If we do not wish for frogs in our homes

Or blood in our water

When will we stop pretending it doesn’t affect us?
When will we quit ignoring the disturbing stories on the news, as if it wasn’t as relevant as

Jay Leno’s monologue

The War on Terror


The girl on the missing poster

I guess I still don’t know my place.