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)