Green Card Girl

by | Apr 5, 2022 | Issue Twenty Six, Poetry

I

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.

II

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 I rescinded the old world.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.

III

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.

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