Our Parents' Children

All immigrants are artists – re-creating your entire life is a form of reinvention on par with the greatest works of literature.

Edwidge Danticat

Theirs was the first gamble.

Hopes stitched into suitcase linings

before being searched at customs.

An airport poster:

We cannot assume responsibility for lost belongings.

Many will not speak of what was lost and found.

How tectonic plates shift the roots of home,

how their cracks give birth to:

border control

the smack of periphery

a dangerous refuge.

They will not speak of this,

of the daily artistry needed to survive,

of how home is hard to grow

on barren ground.

But we carry this journey through our veins.

Their footsteps are woven into our birthmarks;

their struggles, the skin under our nails.

This is our inheritance,

passed down like guilt heirlooms

we carry this through to

the other side of reinvention.

They will not speak of this,

yet we know these truths through

the cracks on the ground we try not to walk on.

They will put their hopes into our hands,

the pain is in letting them go.