* * *
As you slip and fall, my thoughts are along with you
atop the death train – la bestia.
A smiling young man you were, one second ago,
the next – a limp body in the overgrown unworn path.
A heatstroke at 16 has sent you home sooner than you wished for.
But is any man ever so poor or rich,
that he cannot afford to be loved?
No reason but love for me to wake up every morning,
for the thrill of a spoken word, a breath and a warm smile in reach.
Just like how you wished to prosper in the American dream.
There is a life of my choosing that musters its strength
to thrive, live and to make a difference.
Just like how you made yours to be as a migrant worker,
yet, I see you plunging to death from the Burj [Khalifa]
and cracking open your head to purge your debts.
Hope wasn’t even a living thing when you put your mind to it.
For feeding mouths back home, you willed your physical strengths.
When you took that leap from home to cross oceans,
you left behind familiar faces,
and also the promise of a new beginning.
What about my journey to the land of the free and the home of the brave,
on the boat for the privileged immigrants?
I still complain, cry and compare myself to my brothers
while I wear my body out in tedium and luxury.
But, you my friend are free now.
There’s no competition for a scoop of lentils or the leg of a duck,
and no excrement hole in the ground to relieve you of your dignity.
“Where to now?”, the mind will not question you anymore.
No disease or fly ridden living quarters awaits you,
where many times you told yourself, “Love made me do it.”
That grass or the concrete that you’re planted on now,
will in due course, sprinkle a bit of dust with the first drop of rain.
with the final beating of your heart,
make love to your thoughts.
For your brothers, who have made it across the border,
The fight is still on for their human rights.
At the dinner table, biting into my ripe tomatoes,
I will count the pennies for all the pounds they’ve picked
and the blood and bones that they’re still made up of.
Just like how you and I were born into love
and for the first time, were held as children in arms with hope.
That sheet and the coat of many colors you carried for the cold earth,
will wipe someone else’s tears from falling into their soup.
And you’ll know that’s how your every breath was worth it.
And until I am left alone to die,
there will be a few more times I will tell myself, “Love made me do it.”