We Value Your Privacy

This site uses cookies to improve user experience. By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies and other technologies.

I UNDERSTAND
LEARN MORE

Autopsy: A New Poem by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie reflects on President Trump's immigration ban through poetry

immigration graffiti no one is illegal
  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Miko Guziuk

  

Autopsy

Last night, I dreamed that my passport bled.

I dreamed that my passport was a tombstone

For our United States, recently dead.

I dreamed that my passport was made of bone—

That it was a canoe carved out of stone.

“But I can’t swim,” I said. “I will drown

If I can’t make the shore. I’ll die alone

In the salt. No, my body will be found

With millions of bodies, all of them brown.”

I dreamed that my passport was a book of prayers,

Unanswered by the gods, but written down

By fact checkers in suits. “There are some errors

In your papers,” they said. Then took me downstairs

To a room with fingernails on the floor.

I dreamed that my passport was my keyware,

But soldiers had set fire to the doors,

To all doors—a conflagration of doors.

I dreamed that my passport was my priest:

“Sherman, will you battle the carnivores

Or will you turn and abandon the weak?

Will you be shelter? Or will you concede?”

Last night, I dreamed that my passport was alive

When it entered the ICU. It breathed, it breathed,

Then it sighed and closed its eyes. It did not survive.

©2017, Sherman Alexie


Want more from Sherman Alexie? Read another one of his poems, "Hymn," and check out his full list of books.