All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
George Orwell, Animal Farm

She unpacked the story of the pigs,
Napoleon and Squeaker, for us
sophomores like a fried onion blossom,
insisted we chew on Orwell’s words
until the cold fat of pig capitulation lingered
on our teeth, but we insouciant teens
fat on our futures making Zenith TVs
and Kraft cheeses in our fathers’ factories
dismissed her, our only teacher of color
as a double entendre of difference
in our frayed denim, blue-collar school,
a woman with two degrees, twice
as good with less respect, all teachers
being equal but some more than others.

I think of her these days when our Napoleon
and his squeakers bluster braggadocio
in crippled syllables about shit-hole
countries and caravans, spew lies
about crises, chain migration, and animal
infestations at the southern border
while brown-skinned kids lie alone
in rented tents and poor ones drown
in broken safety nets. I remember her
warning that ignorance is not strength
just as zero tolerance and Muslim bans
are barriers to entry, just as soldiers
behind razor wire make certain only
the most equal walk on two legs.