5/30 Poems in November: Will We Stay?

questions“What are we going to do if he wins?”
“Will we stay here?”
“Dada said he’d move to New Zealand if you would go.”
“You said you’d leave the country if Dada would.”
“I have a friend on the west coast of Canada.”
“Can we move there?”
“But what about our stuff?”
“What about my best friend?”
“Would we be poor?”
“How would you get a green card?”
“Would your marriage still be legal?”
“Dada would have to find a new job.”
“Could you still do your work in another country?”
“Can we move to Amsterdam? Amsterdam is lit.”
“Wait, only one suitcase?”
“So we would just sleep on the floor?”
“This is the first year I’ve ever cared about politics.”
“What will we do if he wins?”

The images come flooding the empty plain 
of my lack of good — or any — answers: 
You, my child, with the blond hair and blues eyes. 
You could pass. You could lie about your mother line. 
But you will always be mine. 
You will always be mine.



30 Poems in November! is a literary fundraiser for Center for New Americans. Center for New Americans welcomes and serves immigrants in Western Massachusetts with free English classes and a range of support services. For more information, please visit cnam.org This year, we aim to raise $30,000. Writers do their part by writing one poem each day in November. Friends and family do their part by donating to support this effort. Powerful new poems and financial contributions translate to community support for immigrants.

Some of the most meaningful work I’ve ever done was in my early 20s at the Riverside Church in NYC, leading English-language conversations with new Americans from countries all over the world. It was then that I was privileged to witness the courage, resilience, patience, and grit that immigrants and refugees must have in order to navigate life in a new language and culture.

Since poetry is one of the way I practice showing up in the world, for the month of November, I vow to write one poem a day as a small gesture of respect for and in solidarity with those who land in the Pioneer Valley as new Americans. Your donation will spur me on and, more importantly, support the newest members of our community.

Make your donation here, and read the #30poemsinnovember I’ve written so far here.


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