By: Amber Fair
I Seek a Home
By Savannah Shepard
A response to Tracy K. Smith’s “The United States Welcomes You.”
I was sent by the power of violence, poverty, oppression.
There is nothing that I wish to steal from you.
I dance because my mother danced, as her mother did before her.
And though my dark body looks different from yours,
I am also a person, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a human.
I demand nothing but your understanding
That I am not a thief or a robber or a criminal.
I’ve stolen nothing; my chest leaps because I am afraid of
This new life, new land, a new language I cannot understand.
The nature of my mission is to find refuge, nothing more.
I have no terrible confessions. I have nothing to do with any harm
that you have been through, though I am afraid that you might
not believe me. I am afraid that you might think I want
to take from you. I do not want to take anything
from you. I do not wish to invade. I arrive with my hands raised,
eyes wide, mute as a ghost because the last stranger
I looked in the eye made sure I regretted it.
I have my children with me; I am all they have, now.
None of our loved ones walk upon this Earth, and if they do, I do
not know where they are. It is simple: I am alone. I have left my
home because it is no longer safe. This is not some enigmatic type
of test, so you cannot fail, nor address anyone in any appeal.
I came because I had to, to stay alive, not to invade or steal.
I seek a home where my children can eat, can play, can wander.
I seek a home where I can look to tomorrow, instead of always
being afraid. I seek a home where I can be free.
A Journal of the Arts