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They say we are cousins, you and I

we share the same buses, fast food, love of football

we walk the same sidewalks

buy in the same stores

and when we are ill

we fill the wards of the same hospitals


The writing on our street signs,

cold drink bottles and public bathrooms

are in both our languages


Our music and the poetry of our words

ring out in similar cadences

but when you listen carefully

you can feel the different headwaters of rivers

leading back to different mountain springs


Sometimes in the places

that we meet; the halls of our government

the schools where our children gather

and eye each other

with pride or jealousy


You can hear different blood beating

see into our inner rooms,

the places where kinship is simply

a thin coat of surface paint


Covering the thousand years deep

distrust we have for one another

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© Johnmichael Simon



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