Always an Immigrant

by Margaret Gibson

Always an immigrant
the heart
crosses borders
and boundaries
it trespasses
it will not be held back
Windswept, sea-swept
it is poor, porous
it is outcry and
and a murmur
that ends with
a question mark
Tell me, is it
inside you
the immigrant heart? Or are you
inside it?
I only know
it contains multitudes
this heart
whose color
is not
red or black, or brown
or yellow, or
the immigrant
heart is
there is a light inside it, it fuels
nurses a child
holds your beloved
as he sinks over
his last threshold
a thread of gold light
just visible
along the border
of his body
Just look, the immigrant
races naked along the tide line
both bandage and wound
holds a cup
to the mouth that thirsts
and the cup runneth over
it leaps with the suicide
into the waterfall river
carries school books
and ladders
and songs
it translates
the law, and transforms it
this heart
in the heart of the world
brings the children out of
cages, crates
and sealed truck-beds
What is it, you ask, What is
this immigrant
if not sweat
if not nectar
if not salt
if not aloe
if not what the sages
have promised, the sages
in their desert hovels
and prison cells
the sages on the street corners
and in the subway
They know how the immigrant
gives from its own boundless
and light, crossing into
and bliss, into pain
and rejection
this heart a new life always arriving
your body, my body
one body in the makeshift shelters
we call our lives

Last updated November 03, 2022