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In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that in God’s economy of abundance, when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.
Today's Meditation is a harrowing reminder of our sisters and brothers at the border and in our cities: Pledge Allegiance by Natalie Scenters-Zapico. It is still another reminder of the importance of getting out to vote!
We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in healthcare, in the workplace, in the Church--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.
We hope and pray that you and your loved ones experience genuine peace of mind and heart, and remain in good health during this challenging time.
In this "Season of Ordinary Time" in the Church Year, may this be a time of peace, of healing and hope, of the infusion of joy in your life!
With our love and care,
Ron & Jean
MEDITATION 175: Pledge Allegiance by Natalie Scenters-Zapico
I tap-tap-tap the window, while my mother smiles and mouths,
Tranquila. I tap-tap the glass, my mother a fish I’m trying to summon.
I tap until a border agent says: Stop. Until a border agent
shows me the gun on her belt. My childhood was caught
on video border agents deleted every three months.
I thought myself a movie star blowing kisses at the children
selling chiclets on the bridge. My cruelty from the backseat window
caught on video—proof I am an American. The drug sniffing
dogs snap their teeth at my mother detained for her thick accent,
a warp in her green card. My mother who mouths, Tranquila.
My mother’s fingers dark towers on a screen for the Bioten scan.
Isn’t it fun? says the border agent. The state takes a picture
of my mother’s left ear. Isn’t it fun? I tap-tap-tap the glass
and imagine it shatters into shiny marbles. A marble like the one
I have in my pocket, the one I squeeze so hard I hope to reach
its blue swirls. Blue swirls I wish were water I could bring to my mother
in a glass to be near her. Friends, Americans, countrymen lend me your ears!
But only the border agent replies, Do you know the pledge of allegiance?
She points to a flag pinned on a wall. I do, so I stand and pledge to the country
that says it loves me so much, it loves me so much it wants to take
my mother far away from me. Far away, to the place they keep
all the other mothers to sleep on rubber mats and drink from rubber hoses.
Don’t worry, says the border agent, we will take good care of your mommy.
My mother mouths, Tranquila. Her teeth, two rows of gold I could pawn
for something shiny, something shiny like the border agent’s gun.
Friends, Americans, countrymen lend me your ears, so I can hear
my mother through bulletproof glass, so I can hear her over the roar
of American cars crossing this dead river by the wave of an agent’s pale hand.
Copyright © 2020 by Natalie Scenters-Zapico. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 1, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
“I grew up in El Paso-Cd. Juárez post 9/11 when the U.S.-Mexico border became a place of heightened security and scrutiny. Suddenly, we needed passports to cross into what was essentially just another part of our city. The violence of border security became completely normalized over-night under the guise of ‘protection from foreign terrorists.’ My mother was and is regularly stopped by border patrol, though she has the luxury of an American green card she obtained through marriage. I grew up waiting for her in the car and in lobbies, always afraid that despite her legal status, something would go wrong and they would take her from me. In Texas they say, ‘El Paso ain't Texas, it's Mexico’ and that's why the state had permission to treat our mothers this way. Now all of the United States has become El Paso, and they are taking more than just our mothers away from us.”
Natalie Scenters-Zapico is the author of Lima :: Limón (Copper Canyon Press, 2019). She is an Assistant Professor of poetry at the University of South Florida in Tampa.