We must be sisters
I know we are
Blood is thicker than water
But shared suffering is thicker than blood

I am from Asia: India, perhaps
Maybe Indonesia, maybe the Philippines
It does not matter really
I am one of too many
Brown skin, young
Once innocent, these sad eyes
Not quite understanding
I escaped the famine,
The rivers poisoned by mine tailings
To find myself in a cramped room with you
Where I cannot produce a shadow
Of my old self

You must be from Africa: Nigeria, perhaps
Maybe Ethiopia, maybe Sudan
It does not matter
You are one of too many
Swarthy skin, young
Once innocent, those sad eyes
Not quite understanding
You escaped the war, the genocide
To end up in this cramped room with me
I wonder: Does a history of slavery
Beget slaves like you and me?

In separate worlds drained of hope
Rich with smithereens of wails
Over shattered dreams
I know we grew wings the hard way:
Humiliation from creditors
Who lent little and insulted big
Mortgaged homes
All for placement fees
Never mind, we shall overcome
We should overcome
We are the hedge of loved ones left behind
From sufferings hurled liberally by fate
We flew from the other end of Earth
Eager to finally leave the door
Of misery behind
Like me, you must have clung to the promises
Of an imposturous tongue:
“There, on the other side of Earth
Dreams grow and happen
Just choose
Your mother’s health
Your brother’s education
Your family home
Food for the family you will leave behind-
They happen there.”

My feet landed on foreign soil
I folded my wings. I had arrived!
But I felt the chains
Before I could smell the air of opportunity
I saw the image of doom
The domestic job did not come
Instead, the men came- the men
Of all sizes, colors, smells, names
Every day, every night, they came
Protest meant tighter chains
From it came more blood

I wonder: Did we arrive on the same day?
It does not matter, really
People like us arrive everyday

We are sisters now
Related by the blood of tragedy
That runs through our souls
Painting welts on our bodies
The images we see
When we squint our eyes
Are the same shape: Home
We speak the same languages:
Scissored English and longings for freedom
The tears that silently roll down our faces
Coming from our breaking spirits
Have the same bitter taste

We are sisters now.


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