Islamic and Friendship Studies at Oberlin College

My Blood Brothers and Sisters by Al Carroll


      I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

      And what I assume you shall assume,

      For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

-Walt Whitman, “ Song of  Myself,” 1855                 


I am proud to be an American

My fore mothers and fore fathers of long ago

were white, Anglo-Saxons from the British Isles.

Generally straight as far as I know.


But the red blood flowing through my veins

is no longer that of my ancestors,


My new blood has come gift-wrapped

in pint-sized plastic packages marked

“500 ml red packed cells”

asking may we be of help?

Deliver soon because we are precious and perishable.


My son Mark has generously contributed

to this great pool of life — more than four gallons!

I wish I had done more.


They have come from my A negative blood sisters and brothers

descendants of folks from  Africa, Asia,

native Americans, and Europeans

and so many love-matches among all of the above.


Some of these gifts may be Christian,

but others may be Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu

And some are from those

still struggling to find their own way.


All these red corpuscles co-exist within my arteries and veins

no matter what their politics, gender, or ethnic identity.

There is a lesson here.


Bless you, thank you, all my unknown friends

for making me proud to be an American.





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