Wednesday, November 22

Green Card

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Did you know green cards are actually green?
The well-worn, multi-folded form that stuck
Through the back of my mother’s wallet
Like a red letter like a brand forever pressed
To her throat pointing like
A ‘here I am here I am’ neon sign, a giant arrow
Above her head blinking the truth.

Green-eyed, green-papered, monster like money
Under her fingernails and tracking mud into the store.
The lady stares at her accent, looks at her hands,
Glares at her third eye, shining angry red in the middle
Of her forehead before handing over what my
Grandmother paid for.
Her sari doesn’t get under her feet, but it still trips
The clerk up.

Did you know green cards are actually green?
Envious and hopeful and dreaming.
These little resolute papers, easily mistaken
For a future, for food, for lineages and lines
Of descendants stretching out to university,
To law school, to six figure salaries and 401ks,
Spell out in clear letters “permanent resident.”
What that means is “here for always.”
What they mean is “stuck.”

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