He leans against the wall
With head buried in wrinkled hands.
Tears stream down his face
Like a dam has suddenly been broken
After years of build up.
His experiences have toughened him,
Keeping his cheeks dry for as long as he can remember.
He survived a civil war and
Watched his brother get shot in the back
Twelve times by the very troops that were sent to help his country.
No trial was ever held.
Even after this,
The man continued his role
As a translator,
Because hard work was all he knew.
Now he was to be repaid.
Repaid for his sacrifices
Which were greater than any sum of money.
Finally, he had gotten his Visa
To enter the land of the free.
He holds it in his hands
As he sits on the cold tile floor.
Three hours before boarding the plane,
His dreams were crushed.
“You can no longer travel to America” the gate agent said.
The man now begins to sob aloud,
His body contorting and shaking,
Just as his children’s had all those nights
When gunshots sounded like raindrops on the tin roof.
He has been through worlds of pain.
No explanation was ever offered
And certainly no apology.
Eight years of waiting for a Visa
Finally resulted in
An American gate agent broke the news to him.
His family, unable to speak English,
At first couldn’t comprehend the impossible.
Something had changed in America,
And a new disorder banned all people from their nation.
He turned to his children,
Looking down into their glowing,
Faces that admired him.
Saw him as a hero. Saw him as a savior.
He watched their smiles fall,
And he reached out as if to catch them.
His wife turned ghostly white.
Sobs erupted around the rest of the gate.
No one would be saved today.
He had witnessed his neighborhood
Reduced to rubble.
His own house,
Which he’d built from scratch,
Had been the target of a car bomb.
And this was how he was rewarded.
He is on ISIS’s kill list because of his aid to US troops.
Thank you for your service,
You cannot come to our country now.
Ringing filled his ears as he sank fully to the floor.
Now, with his suitcase by his side,
He knew not what to do.
His family’s whole life was packed into a
Crate on wheels.
He had no more possessions than what lay at his feet.
Their family had sold their home,
He and his wife had quit their jobs.
They had given their furniture away
And said their goodbyes.
There was nothing here for them anymore.
His hardships, he thought, had prepared him for anything.
Nothing on the battlefield could break him.
But this tentative taste of freedom
Only to have it snatched away;
This is what broke him in two.
He looked over at his son Oliver,
Whose face showed no emotion, only persistence.
In those hazel eyes, he saw his own image, and
He knew that all he could do now was move forward,
Because his life had been full of hard work and determination.
He stood, picking up his backpack,
Picking up his children,
And picking up his hope.
He strolled out of the airport
With his whole life in his arms.
It was time for him to stop looking back,
And only move forward.
Forward with strength, persistence, and
The hope that carried him out of the civil war
And will somehow carry him to America.