Today we are featuring a poem from our regular contributer, Harold Recinos. When asked what compelled him to write this poem and share it with Anabaptist Witness, Harold responded with the following. – Ed.
The Central American immigrant families with whom I engage in ministry come to the United States motivated by a desperate flight from a life of misery and despair; however, their story like that of so many Latino families new to the States is one of social exclusion and permanent poverty—cultural acceptance and the so-called good life eludes them. I wrote the poem, Home Coming, to reflect on the experience of cultural rejection in American society and intergenerational estrangement between immigrant parents and children. Anabaptists have a deep understanding of immigrant narratives, especially in light of the various and different ways members of this community have dealt with economic instability, unauthorized migration and unfair stereotypes of a cultural and linguistic minority. Most certainly, the communities forming the tradition of the radical reformation understand that, on this side of the cross, a solidarity of difference will carry society toward of the ideal of building a more just and humanized life together. In short, I cannot imagine a better context for sharing this poem with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
babies in cribs are wrapped with an
English speaking flag, named Ed, Bill,
Miriam, Mary Ann, and Steve like the
Good Housekeeping magazine suggests.
they grow up unable to spell their Spanish
names, playing with blonde Barbie and
Ken, listening to whispered English to
put them soundly to sleep. by the time
they make first grade they sit in school
yards to laugh about their mother’s broken
English speech, completely unaware of
what it meant to pack a bag for the long
walk across the border into a life with better
dreams for them. the new owners of the
country look doubly at them and see only
Indians in the field bringing a harvest to
yield, while finding clever new ways to
close any other doors. will America be
home for them? will they leave their trace
on her golden shores? will they become
sweet companions for this strange new land?
will they leap with joy in the coming years or
clench their souls with woe? Pray tell?
h. j. Recinos
Harold J Recinos, Professor of Church and Society, Perkins School of Theology at SMU, author of two collections of poetry, Voices on the Corner (Wipf and Stock, 2015) and Long Way Home (Floricanto and Berkeley Press, 2016).