Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
The Shape of Uncertain Waiting


Lent, and old French hymns decorate
the hours. These are sad songs, migrating
sorrow from oud to violin
in the ancestors of low notes, carrying echoes
of tabla, dropping among our voices like rain.

At home the garden stirs. Kingbirds fight
for scraps off the vine. I bruise
sweet peas urging them
upward on poles
trussed with chicken wire

before the heat comes
and withers their pastel bloom.

Chicken wire. You would never mention this,
but I have seen photos, how one group
is kept from another
in Kakuma camp. Your baby
reaches through its twisted hexagons

to claw air on the other side.
You should be in line for food
but slip past guards and relief workers
into Nairobi, blue light of the internet café
stinging your eyes. A few words tapped out

and the same brittle blue
lights up a nightstand across the world.
My job is to be your anchor, your sponsor
when you arrive.
When will you arrive? The days disappear,

are turned back
at the border, money gone,
there never was any money. You ask
do we still want you?
Can I hit reply all,

yes? You are wanted there is a place for you here
don't believe the reports have faith (press send.)

Amy Valenzuela is a poet, fiction writer and mom from Southern California. She holds the 2017 Drury Prize in poetry from Long Beach City College and is active in social justice efforts for LGBTI refugees.

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Thank you. ..a beautiful poem with so many perfect.images “dropping among our voices like rain”.
"There is a place for you here" is a message of love you send out to a desperate sister in Africa. Soon you will welcome her here to Long Beach. Your beautiful poetry is not just words. It will soon become flesh and blood.
Your words, your actions and your compassion never cease to amaze me!
My God, Amy...this is gorgeous, breathtaking and breath giving.
Beautiful, Amy. I love the rhythm.
Amy, this is so beautiful and heartfelt. I am so happy she is safely here. You captured so much in this wonderful poem. Thank you!
Amy, this is heartbreaking and beautiful. I hope some of your people will be able to read it and find solace in the words of hope and love you express so well, and in the knowledge that hearts like yours are here to welcome them all. Oh I wish all our hearts were this open!
These words are both beautiful and completely unsettling. Amazing -- thank you.
You have a way with words.
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