Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Sanctuary



I am not a winter person but oddly, I find comfort in knowing that the first day of winter means that the days will start getting longer.  Minute by minute, we stretch toward spring.

But at this season, it is hard to live with knowing how many families are without comfort and joy.  Though this poem and the sound piece that accompanies it was published last year by Apiary magazine, the incarceration of families, separated or together continues.  While Javier was able to safely leave his sanctuary at the Arch Street Ministry as he awaits his visa, others remain in churches and jails. It is a poem I wish was no longer relevant but sadly, remains a call for justice.

Wishing all who seek it, sanctuary and peace.

You can listen to the sound poem here..


Sanctuary


Late November and winter is just starting its long march.
Days darken, more time to live in the shadow of what we fear. 

Encircled in forest, a buffer from the highway’s hum,
these acres named sanctuary, refuge, oasis.

The pond is mirrored with ice.  Life underneath suspended.

Doe and fawn.  Hard to feel safe when hunters shoot for sport
or profit, steel bow and an arrow of cross-weaved carbon,

essential element of life, and who knows if hunters believe in
boundaries they can’t see.

Outside the City of Brotherly Love, Margarita Alberto
and her six-year old son have been detained, asylum denied,

incarcerated for 328 days for the crime of fleeing El Salvador
without enough documentation of their victimization.

Now they are victims here.  Each one turns a profit for those
who contain them behind a split rail fence even her son could scale

but better to mind this border than be sent back, this time
leaving her son behind.  This time, marked as one who fled.

Javier Flores claims sanctuary at the Arch Street Methodist Church,
deported more than once but crossing over to be with his family

again and again.  The Book of Numbers names sanctuary cities but
Javier is not the one who needs forgiveness.

His life is suspended.  His family brings food from the outside.
ICE waits on Broad Street. 

His borders are the sanctuary walls, sun through the stained glass,
a kaleidoscope of angels floating above the stone floor.


Beth Feldman Brandt 2017
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