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.