By Elaheh Farmand
I came to America,
25 years ago
with rose-colored glasses,
a suitcase of memories,
and my mother’s dreams
I came to America
with little English
and a lot of bitterness because
our struggles as new immigrants
But I came to America
with my mother’s hopes
and from her,
I learned that we were lucky,
to be living
the American Dream.
I am grateful, but…
this freedom is not equal for every body
this freedom destroys Mother Earth and builds walls
this freedom demands documents as proof of humanity
this freedom has us placing signs on our windows and back yards: “Hate has no home here.”
This freedom has become an immigrant’s nightmare: black and brown children in cages,
Latina mother in a coma on the brink of deportation
Immigrant women undergoing forced hysterectomies
This freedom is the terror of ICE:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
This freedom manufactures
consent that our enemy,
is an Iraqi or an Afghani or
another brown body.
This freedom betrays
and cries crocodile tears
while waging wars under disguise
of human rights.
This freedom attacks
our rights to our bodies
our books in our schools.
This freedom will
all that remains
of a once American dream
I come from Iran,
where dreaming is forbidden, and execution arbitrary
where a ticket to America is a ticket to heaven
my parents brought me here so that I could be free
so that I could dream and be who I want to be
And yet here I am,
shaking with anger
“My body, my choice!”
this poem continues to get longer
this freedom reminds me of the very place I left
This freedom breaks my heart.
Elaheh Farmand is an Iranian immigrant and writer. In 2016, she founded the series, “Immigrants & Exile: Stories of Nostalgia & Longing”. The series gives space for people to share their experiences of nostalgia, exile, and longing. Elaheh fights for and dreams of a society restructured to place people’s needs and wellbeing before profits. She is occasionally nostalgic for her childhood in Iran, but focuses her energy on organizing, connecting with her community, her family and friends.
Left Turn is sponsored by the Beyond Capitalism Group of the Alliance for Sustainable Communities – Lehigh Valley.
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