Sins of the father,


i draw hammers and sickles on the inside of my wrist with a ballpoint pen. in my mother's voice when she snatches it from my hands i hear a lifetime of fear. "our family has given enough," she cries. "we've already paid this tax in blood". i keep reading marx, but only under my covers, with a flashlight, like a cave explorer. 
there's nothing materialist about the way revolution is passed on in my family, like a defective chromosome. i say this to my father and he laughs, tells me 
"there is no revolutionary gene, my love. your eyes have been opened, and what one sees one can never unsee." i get it, now. the stories were only glasses.

but the way my heart beats, the way my fists clench, that has to be hereditary. the way we both form our Os like a mouthful of sand when we sing the internationale, the way i instinctively reach for him in the dark as i see election results roll in on the bright screen, miles away from home; what is it if not the struggle written in my bones? 
my father is always so gentle in his patience. "my love," he says again. "it's only luck. it's only land." 
i remember pictures of him, young and poor and fatherless under the palm trees of tangier. it was a choice, i realize. nothing is written in the stars. 
no one sane would choose this life, and yet we do. we do.

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