November 20, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Molly Adams photo



Caroline Johnson




To the Eight Hundred Thousand DACA Children,

from one Cancer Survivor



You can’t remember your native land, can’t recall

the details of the crossing, but you sense hot air

blowing like an approaching hurricane, threatening

to uproot all of your sisters and brothers.


And if my wish for you has any power at all

so dirty politics will remain a lost memory,

and you will never have to bow down again

to the scary Cerberus of silence, or whisper

a fervid prayer in each fear-packed moment.


My friends, you are soldiers and don’t even know it.

Be like Perseus and slay the shadows of apathy

hovering in their caves. Throw Medusa’s head

at the Department of Homeland Security. Don’t

be afraid of senators grinning like jack-o-lanterns.

Lean instead towards the Day of the Dead, towards

the sugared skulls who seek to save your future

with placards and protests, who seek to spread justice

with hot churros and coffee. I say this to you as one


who has survived Cancer, that you, too, will outlive

this drama. I pray you will understand that each day

is a gift, a loan from the bank of time, that for every

pore of skin on your tired body, somebody also has

suffered a struggle, a thirst, a hunger, even a death.


You should know by now that, like all who persevere,

you are warriors, and even though you carry no

weapons you bear gifts of wisdom and dahlias.


Let the moon guide you. Let its light whisper past

your fear and envelope you in the ghosts of your

ancestors. Let tonight breathe wildly, not frightened

like a rabbit, but stalwart as a coyote or wolf.


Open your history books and read with me.

Study the Revolutionary War. Let Benjamin

Franklin’s famous words roll off your tongue,

“Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”






Caroline Johnson

Caroline Johnson has two poetry chapbooks and more than 70 poems in print. A nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, she has won numerous state and national poetry awards. Past president of Poets & Patrons of Chicago, her full-length poetry manuscript, The Caregiver, is forthcoming from Holy Cow! Press in May of 2018.

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