Today, we’d like to share a poem from Jen Durbent’s wonderful poetry collection, canon. The collection features works on a wide variety of topics and varying in form from epic to haiku.

In Boketto, Durbent explores politics and resistance through the persona of Lady Liberty. Even at its most literal interpretation, the words are weighty and melancholic, raising question after question.

How does she resist? Does she riot? Does she rage against the state? Does she throw stones and beat her fists against the police shields? Or does she go home and calmly write words that will change minds and hearts? Does she write invective? Does she write thinkpieces? Heartfelt personal stories? What could Lady Liberty possibly say to sway the masses in this day and age?

Perhaps she resigns in her efforts, the time and energy of resisting in any meaningful way being too much for one person just trying to get by in the world. Her day job, grief over injustice, and life as a trans woman in America leave little enough room for someone to affect any change. Perhaps she just gives up.

It can all be too much.

Lady liberty, trans woman, sits on the cement banks of the Potomac. In her left hand, cherry blossoms from last year. She plucks one at a time with her right, then tosses them in the river. They ride the current out of sight. Will she live to see them bloom again? A kerchief (from her murdered sister justice's eyes) pulled down over her nose and mouth, keeps out tear gas from containers behind her proudly made in USA. A moment of doubt: should she collect rocks in her pockets? Should she fall into the water? Let her strength seep away. Perhaps. But not today. She stands, looks, crosses the street unseen by police, walking home to a small apartment far from K street, far from Pennsylvania avenue, far from the mall, where she can get to work.

You can pick up canon here or at many fine online booksellers.