To come to you—I navigated bitter winds
crossed oceans blind
told the old world: I rescind.
To be with you—I renounced my name
faced down suited men
left the birthing hips, never to return again.
To sink into you—I sat in the waiting room
on hallowed ground
swore the oath and hoped to bloom.
To be part of you—I perched with ankles tight
my life in a file
breath caught, sweating under the spotlight.
To be alone with you —I swear down
I’d swim across this land
I’d give my body to this ancient ground
I pledge allegiance. No turning back now.
before I got here and before you got here there was a whole world here
canvassing the land from mountain ledge to chiseled valley and now
I stand here and ask to stay and ask to stay and ask to stay. some do not
get to ask the question, do not get to hear an answer, do not get to untie
the bouquet from its brown paper, cut the stems and sink them in water.
some are left in the waiting room, in the waiting room, in the waiting room
and there I am, on a university campus clutching a forty dollar textbook
that I will only read ten pages of, toting keys to a car that became mine
simply because I fell in love, there I am, not waiting but being introduced
by my professor at readings as our very own green card girl. Before I stood here,
before you stood here, were there just masses of swampland? Did people
find the camellia in the mud and pin it to their lapel? In Sedona, I once stood
at the foot of cliff-faces and watched another white British woman tell me
how ancient civilizations lived, how they built their homes out of the rock,
how they grew crops and washed and washed and washed. She held
a yellow legal pad in two fumbling hands and struggled to read her own
handwriting as she recited the history, she did not know it like the back of her body,
like the body of the land. I rescinded the old world. I renounced my name.
I left the birthing hips never to return again. When my husband asks where
to bury my body, where to bury our bodies together, where I will bury his body,
he plants me like a seed and I swear the oath and hope to bloom. I ask to stay,
to give my body to the ancient ground, I ask to stay, I ask to stay.
U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services: Having a Green Card (officially known as a Permanent Resident Card) allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. The steps you must take to apply for a Green Card will vary depending on your individual situation.
I am in love. I am an outlander. He pulled me into his boat. We are in love.
Shannon Wolf is a British writer and teacher, living in Denver, Colorado. Her debut full-length poetry collection Green Card Girl is forthcoming from Fernwood Press. She received a joint MA-MFA in Poetry at McNeese State University and also has degrees from Lancaster University and the University of Chichester. She is the Co-Curator of the Poets in Pajamas Reading Series. Her poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction (which can also be found under the name Shannon Bushby) have appeared in The Forge, No Contact Mag, and HAD among others. You can find her on social media @helloshanwolf.