“My Heart Is an Immigrant” by Trevor Scott Barton

My heart is an immigrant.
It loves its home.
The snow like a blanket in winter,
the flowers on the mountain in spring,
the salt in the sea in summer,
the leaves on the trees in fall,
are life for my heart.

Its memories are here.
Its family is here.
Its home is here.

Yet one too many guns have been pointed at it at checkpoints in the street.
One too many clouds have disappointed it by banking up on the horizon but not bringing rain.
One too many coughs have broken it when there was no medicine to give.

So my heart is tired,
poor,
huddled,
wretched,
homeless,
and tempest-tost.

It loves its home,
But it is time for it to go.

It pulls on its brown, tattered coat,
its black, holey shoes,
and its red, wool scarf.
With tears in its eyes
it says, “Goodbye,” to its home.

It picks up its battered suitcase,
the one with tape around its ends,
lest it break open and spill out
my fathers favorite shirt,
a love letter from my wife,
and a picture of my children,
all I have in the world,
onto the ground.

It takes its first step toward a new world.

Now it sits silently
back to back and knee to knee
with poor women
and little children
who also have immigrant hearts.

It is deep in the hull of a ship
tossing in a storm on the sea.
It is high on the roof of a train winding down a long, steep hill.
It is walking barefoot on a dusty road.

With each step it whispers, “Thank you.”
With each mile it longs for the words, “I care.”
With each thousandth mile it hopes for kindness.

Will it look into a face and see mild eyes?
Will it find a hand to hold?
Will it be welcomed?

My heart is an immigrant.

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