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Those in power are killing us and I still have to walk my dog. 

by: rose cervantes

Taking a 15-minute walk while the world rips itself apart,

Puts people through wood chippers because they can. 

I’m trying here. Trying to look for presence.

Trying to appreciate the sun filling something inside me.

But I feel myself slipping out of my body.

I repeat mantras to stabilize the rising anxiety in my gut from full plates, to an empty fridge to a world on fire. 


I am safe. 

No one is coming to harm me. 

[It doesn’t matter that I got cat-called in my pajamas this morning.]

I am safe now. 


And my mind flashes — 

                                          and suddenly my heart is with the people weeping in Ukraine.

                                          my aching heart and twitchy fingers scroll while I walk

                                          and I watch a father gently fix his daughter’s winter beanie. 

                                         Wet face in a hot pink winter coat standing in

front of a safe bus. 


Her father is sending his daughter away. 

                                       Someplace safer, outside of their neighborhood, turned warzone overnight. 

                                                                     I don’t know where she is going. But she is going

                                                                     alone. Her father squeezes her tight. 

                                                                     She will flee and her father will remain

                                                                     unsafe. I wonder if she will ever see her father 


                                                                     Is she safe?


I am walking around a small lake near my apartment with my dog. 

My body can move. I am not running, I am walking. I am safe. 

From bomb raids and martial law. For now. 

                                                                    But I am safe. 

                                                                               and I am unsafe. 


I am here in a state ripping out young queers from closets 

                                                                            they are not ready 

                                                                            to leave 

                                                                            trust these young caterpillars on their timing 

                                                                           do not stomp on burrowed cocoons. 


And in 2022 we still care who you’re loving - 

who you want to build moments of a finite fatal 

existence with --- but this country doesn’t care 

about people.

Not black people. Not brown people. Not queer people. 

Not disabled people. Not poor people. 

Not people with mental health issues. 

Not people who have addictions, or grief, or questions.

Who is safe?  

Sometimes I feel like this must be a simulation gone awfully wrong.

Some tragic sitcom with bad ratings and bad actors.

Some terrible nightmare that lulls you to REM sleep

Only to rest your sleeping body 

To float in a pool of blood 

Of those who die meaningless deaths. 

                                                             And if you open your eyes, and lift the veil

                                                             from your digital gaze 

                                                             and sheltered 

                                                             childhood values, 

                                                             you are faced with the millions of people 


                                                                          in debt

                                                                                        in bullets

                                                                          in blood  

                                                                                        in floods 

                                                                          in flames.

Red on everything. I can’t unsee red.

Keep coughing on red.

As my electricity bill increases with seasons 

And rising temperatures. I must continue 

In a racist, covid-19, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, 

                                                                                          white supremacist world. 

But for now, there is still a roof and walls and floors 

cradling my family in a city with other forms of violence 

lurking around corners. But I am safe right?

I have a place to toss and turn 

                                                    as world war 3, 




                                                                               in my head before sleep. 

Can rest exist in a time like this? 

How do we continue? 

How do we fight, love, sleep, live, 

                     How do we stay alive? 

Remember the people who have been killed.

Who have been forced 

through death’s jaw and shredded through razor-sharp fangs. 

Senseless death cuts humanity and we are left crawling caverns.

Please for god sake remember each other. 

We are not safe!

Remember people need people. 

Not bombs, not war, not this.

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