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In your name

In your name, we have invaded
come with planes, tanks and artillery
into a country and wonder why
they do not like us
be proud

in your name we have bombed villages
and cities leaving torn babies,
the bloated bellies of their mothers,
a little boy crying for his father
who lies under his broken house
the smashed arms of teenagers
in the sunbaked streets
every death creates a warrior
be proud

In your name we have taken men
and women from their homes
in the afternoon breaking down their doors
in the night waking them to the rattle
of weapons leaving their children
weeping with fear
be proud

in your name we have taken those we suspect
because they were in the wrong place
or because someone who hated them gave their names
or because a soldier didn’t like the way they stared at him
put them in cells and strung them up like slaughtered cattle
stripped their clothes and mocked them naked
ran electricity through their tender parts
set dogs to rip their flesh
in your name
be proud

This is who you are becoming.
There is none other but you sanctioning this.

In your name young boys from Newark and Sandusky
are shot at by people who live in the place
they have been marched to.
In your name a young woman from Detroit
is disemboweled by a bomb.
In your name the sons of out of work miners
step on land mines.
In your name their bodies are shipped home.
In your name fathers return to their children
maimed and blind, their brains seared.

This is who you are in Athens or in Lima not Ohio
when people glare at you in the street.
This is the person your passport identifies,
the one who allows the order to be given
for blood to be mixed with sand
for bones to be mixed with mud

In your name is all this being carried out right now
as we sit here, as we speak, as we sleep.
Every day we do not act, we are permitting.
Every day we do not say no, we all say yes
be proud.

Marge Piercy’s most recent novel is The Third Child (William Morrow/Harper Collins, 2003), and Colors Passing Through Us (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003) is her most recent book of poetry. Her CD, Louder, We Can’t Hear You (Yet!): The Political Poems of Marge Piercy, is available online from Leapfrog Press,

2004, Volume 56, Issue 04 (September)
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