Sarah Browning


In Guantanamo

A man composes a poem
pressing his thumbnail 
into the white permanence 

of his Styrofoam cup - 
Arabic script of praise song, 
of lament, circling the cup,

cup of our disdain. Hail the 
cup, singing its squeaky dirge
in the land of our castoffs.

Hail the poet's nail, thumb,
muscle and hail his nerve.

Border Crossing in the 1980s

In the desert 
near the border, 

my Nana made 

for men who cut 
across her backyard: 

white bread, 

government cheese. 
Other white people 

told her to stop, 
said it wasn't safe.

Don't be ridiculous
said my Nana. 

What am I to do 
with all this cheese?