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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

What We Have in Common

This poem was prompted by the view of a large army vehicle yesterday during a walk I took on Cape Cod. This large army vehicle, with a variety of messages painted on it made me think about whether the things that we have in common are enough to unite us. Our divisions in this country are so deep. How often do we consider what unites us?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

We both drive cars

Our vehicles have four wheels, a steering wheel

We both sit on chairs and eat at tables

Use knives, forks and spoons

Listen to music and to the radio

We both love our country

We both breathe the same air, feel the same breeze

Talk and argue, look and listen

We see the same storms and are fans of the same teams

See snow in the winter and lightening in the summer

We both call our friends and complain when things go wrong

Rejoice when things go right

We both swim in the ocean and breathe the same air

We both cry when we are sad and laugh when things are funny

We both walk and run, fast and slow

We both sleep every night, we both wake up in the morning

I'll go out on a limb and say I'll bet we both like ice cream

We both have children and cousins and brothers and sisters

And aunts and uncles and grandparents and moms and dads

We both love our children and our pets

We both shop at the market and get gas in our cars

We both wear coats in the winter and shorts in the summer

Gloves and boots, sunglasses and hats

We probably both drink coffee and shop at the same markets

We both stare at the same sky and moon and stars

We both value freedom

We both love liberty

We both love our country

We both admire our flag

We both listen or read the news

But here we differ

Your news is different than my news

Your reality is different from mine

I don't know you

You don't know me

We exist in the same space and have so much in common

But we see past each other

Look askance, villainize each other

Curse each other, pretend that the other doesn't exist

Or is a thorn in our side

We don't learn from our mistakes

We forget the lessons of our childhoods

Not to throw stones, not to make fun

Our paths seldom, if ever meet

For all we have in common

How can we be so far apart

We live so close but our beliefs are so different

We both believe in liberty, in justice for all

Turn a coin one way or the other, it's still a coin

Turn a belief one way or the other and it sets us in orbit

Each to our own universe and maybe, just maybe

Each to our own destruction

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