Your People Will Be My People

Sometimes, I hear my house speaking
to me in small bangs, a crack here,
a crack there, sixteen years,
the stairs have got steeper, longer,
higher, or my knees have
            given in to my years that were
splintered along these looming hills.

This Pennsylvania landscape of uneven
spaces, like ghosts coming out of new
walls, these things that inhabit a home
before we sign away our lives
at the Broker’s office.
            These ghosts that followed
us after we fled the war, the war dead

we passed along Liberia’s roadways
in search of refuge, those clinging ghosts
of the dead from Soul Clinic rubber
bush Displaced Refugee Center, where
rebels executed tens of thousands
            of our own kinsfolk, mothers, fathers,
friends, neighbors, children,
whole families. Ghosts, clinging

forever, to us, as we fled, visiting, following
after all these years, to live where we
would live, like Ruth to Naomi,
   “Entreat me not to leave you,
or to turn back from following after you;
for wherever you go, I will go;
and wherever you lodge, I will lodge.

Your people shall be my people,
and your God, my God,” your country
will be my country, where you die,
we will die, again, and again, like they
killed us, we will die a million times,
buried with you, and as long as you live,
we will live, forever and forever.

Used with permission of the author.