What he said

This poem is not from the lectionary readings, it is from the alternative lectionary of real life; from when I went to a political meeting recently and they asked a refugee/journalist to speak about his experiences for us. “My” poem borrows so heavily from his narrative, that I really wrote it not to showcase my own writing but because what he said struck me as so important that I needed to circulate it further. I didn’t catch his name, or even if I ended up noting down one story or two different/similar ones but truth was there.

He’s a survivor,

we might label him an asylum seeker,

a refugee.

He’s a father of two,

a widower (his wife died horridly).

 

He says “They” so that we will understand

though he’s speaking of his own people:

 

“They are not looking to steal your job,

they are looking to have a chance.

I am pretty sure [he says]

that they have dreams

[those people left behind in the hellish camp];

dream like anybody else.

 

“They just want the same things

that anyone who loves their children wants.

[Anyone who loves their children…]

 

“When we left, we just locked the door behind us

and went to another city,

left forever.

I’d known something like this would happen,

just a man with his clothes,

a small amount of money, enough to get on a boat

with his children.

 

“We were three days on that boat

it was very hard [he pauses at his understantement]

But you know?

The hardest thing is knowing

you can do NOTHING

to protect your family.

 

“The endless water…the detention

[“You will never get out”]

…and now a bridging Visa.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

We’ve been here three years.

 

“I am still powerless.

I don’t know what will happen to us next.”

 

 

Let us find in this man’s story, the Word of God.

Thanks be to God.

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