His abuelo lifted the iron knocker on the oak church door and let it fall back onto it’s tarnished iron plate. He did this again and again until a nun cracked open the door.
The nun hand worked in the inner-city for many years and had seen many things, but never had she seen the beauty and suffering she saw in the faces and bodies of Maria and Gustavo at the church door that night.
Their eyes were alight with beauty - the beauty of being - the beauty of bringing a new life into the world.
Their bodies were heavy with suffering. They were covered with the dirt and sweat and blood of thousands upon thousands of miles of migration along the migratory road.
Their shoulders sagged under the weight of months of homelessness. The only homes they had found during their journey were the small spaces and simple kindnesses that people had shown them along the way.
They were still and very quiet.
They didn’t make a sound.
The old nun wrapped her arms around them.
“I’m here,” she whispered.
Immigrant Hearts (a poem)
Spring mountain flowers
Summer salt in the deep, wide sea
Fall leaves on the colorful trees are art for my heart
With tears in eyes, my heart pulls on its brown tattered coat, black holey shoes and red wool scarf
My heart is so tired, poor, huddled, wretched, homeless and tempest-tost. It loves its memories, family, home but it is time for it to go
Too many cold, deserted eyes at checkpoints in lonely streets pointed guns at my heart; too many clouds in rainy seasons empty of rain brought pain to my heart; too many coughs from my children's chests late into night broke my heart
My heart picks up its battered suitcase, with tape all around its ends, lest it break open and spill out my father's favorite shirt, a love letter, a picture of my beautiful children, all I have in the world, onto the ground
Deep in the hull of a ship tossing on stormy seas; high on the roof of a train winding down a long, steep hill; barefoot on a dusty road
Silent, back to back, knee to knee, with poor women and little children…immigrant hearts
With each step along the way our hearts whisper, "Thank you"
With each mile they long for, "I care"
They hope for kindness