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Caterpillar

For Rachel Corrie

by Victorio Reyes

Sometimes I sit down to dinner
and I imagine that you’re sitting with me. We’re
talking about the history of capitalism and the connections
between Marx and Adam Smith.

My partner chimes in about the sexist and Euro-centric
implications of such discussions.        We nod in agreement.
You compliment me on my rice and beans.

I explain that I channeled my grandmother and

the credit should be given to her.
While I’m dipping bread in the dish you brought,
you explain that the key to good hummus is the olive oil.
You pause because you’re reminded of          Gaza.

 

I realize there is a massive military machine
that imposes catastrophe on citizens around the world.
I make the connection between international imperialism
and police brutality, summoning         Amadou Diallo.

You agree and we discuss the intricacies of white privilege

and the reluctance of many to utilize their standing to prevent
atrocities from happening, abroad and in       our back yard.

We then discuss Cointel-Pro conjuring stories of the Red Scare

and connecting it to the “War on Terror”. Others at the potluck

add their thoughts on how our government discourages people

from challenging the               power structure and

I have this eerie feeling that the military machine is outside my door

 

trying to kill the people I’m having dinner with.
The evening winds down as people begin to put on their coats.
I smile at you and you respond with a look of approval,
a sign of a full belly and a good conversation.
Yet I know your soul is          uneasy.

The machine is trying to kill somebody somewhere
and you traded in the bliss of ignorance for the

crushing, mortal truth, several years ago.
It haunts your stomach making you feel         queasy.

You finally send a slight smile my way as you           pass through the door

 

going wherever it is that you go

when you’re not around.

 

 

(Lines in italics are taken from an interview given by Rachel Corrie, 2003)