What can we do?
You tell me there is a problem,
A problem that is hard to change,
One that, “I will never fully understand, even if I had observed it first hand.”
I naturally resist and hate that statement, however true,
It’s not the language that invites me to seek; to seek and see through.
To see through my location, my privilege, and myself
And that’s what I need, what you need, what we all need the most.
And understand that we all, however limited, and however blind,
Have insight that calls us all, to the table to talk,
About a problem, that’s hard to change.
The problem is deeper than a specific situation,
It’s not an isolated experience or because of one simple decision.
It’s a reality. Our reality.
With no guarantee, of any foresee-able
change happening quickly enough.
You begin by telling me the premise,
With grieving eyes, and shaky hands,
Your body takes on a shamed disposition,
Your words spoken slowly, attempting to explain the condition.
A child grows up, alongside one brother and two sisters,
In a hard working family of farmers preparing for the winter.
Dedicated to growing crops to sell in the market.
With hopes that “this year, profit will come after the harvest.”
They would say:
“Finally we can send our children to school,
Finally we can afford a balanced meal,
We will be warm this winter after all,
We can repair our roof, and maybe even open our own stall.”
But the winter was longer than expected,
Conditions have changed, leaving our crops as defected.
This was all we had to give,
My parents cried for hours thinking of how we will live.
My dad knew of a man whose wife had gone abroad.
She got on a plane, and went to a different land and was awed
She would call home and tell stories of the riches she saw,
Sending money home monthly, leaving everyone, thanking God.
My mom heard her story, and they decided at once.
There was no other option; she had to go this month,
Documents were forged, the man was paid,
Gone were the days where my siblings and I played.
Things were different after mom had left,
Dad took it hardest, convinced that his family experienced theft
She had promised to call at least once each month,
We didn’t hear a thing and winter was fast approaching.
We had no savings left to spend, this topic was broaching.
My father with tears in his eyes; didn’t know how we could fend.
My brother would go to the city to work with a friend’s friend.
Picking up garbage was the most his friend could extend.
In return he promised him shelter and food,
Dad knowing he was in no position to be shrewd.
He left and my father continued to work the land,
But things were still not going as planned.
My sisters and I were growing very thin,
Which we tried to hide, but dad saw it in our skin.
A man came one day and told dad of his two sons,
Who were looking for brides, to mother him some grandsons.
Promising them nice homes, and a future with family,
And knowing their situation, stating that their beauty alone would cover the dowry.
My father agreed, and sent my two sisters to marry.
Thinking their future here might be more scary.
My dad and I were sitting when one day we saw,
A weak, wrinkled women walking through the straw.
She had scars on her hands, and a slash on her face.
We looked closer and closer, then ran to embrace.
My mom returned home.
But something was different
The wounds she wore, were more than just visual
Something deep down, was hurt. Would it ever be fixable?
Empty pockets, she returned with her life and freedom,
She looked to my father, now more than ever she needed him.
You look into my eyes, and stop telling the story,
Your hands stop shaking, speaking now declaratorily.
You tell me this story just skims the surface,
And that if you went into more detail, you promised I would get nervous.
There is a problem.
A problem that is hard to change,
One that surprisingly,
you don’t need to fully understand, or to have witnessed first hand,
Yet invited to the table, we sit together, and plan.
We put our best foot forward and choose to intervene.
We work to redeem.
We work to redeem a dream of freedom, joy, and peace
Until we see our reality,
as it should be.