I left the land of my forbearers
packed into a seasick shipping container
with countless others like me
– we all look the same to you;
no faces here –
and traveled the dark and swelling ocean
for twenty two black days
no sun; no breeze
only the others’ rounded shoulders
jostling me in the dark.
Then a creaking of salt-encrusted hinges,
accented voices and officious flashlights.
I am hauled under fluorescent lights,
poked, prodded, labeled
then put into quarantine.
A week later, in a restless California night,
a man with keys comes
out of nowhere; around the corner
and shoves me rough in the back of a truck
and I roll across the desert
heading toward sunrise salvation
but get detoured at the MegaMart
where I’m lined up with the others;
perfect rows of immigrants.
His daughter inspects each one of us,
listening, gently fondling
– his eyes have a proud shine –
until she finds me.
“This one, daddy!” she exclaims. “It’s perfect!”
And daddy pays for me
and makes me ride in the back
of the family SUV.
Driving home through sprinkler perfection,
daddy tells his princess all the
things she can do to me:
“First you have to wash it
to get off all the dirt,” he says.
“That’s yucky! Then, we’ll use a knife;
don’t worry – I’ll help.”
The SUV stops and daddy pulls me out
and takes me into the kitchen.
Princess gives me an abbreviated shower
– barely enough to get me wet –
then drops a shining stainless blade
through my core again and again.
I’m laying pieces on the counter,
my juice dripping from her weapon;
She smiles and reaches for me.
Bon appetite, princess.