by Elaheh Farmand
I came to America 21 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 struggle as new immigrants
But I came with hope
and from my mother,
I learned that I was lucky,
to be living
the American Dream.
I am grateful, but…
this freedom is not as pure as I imagined
destroying Mother Earth and building walls
stopping dreamers from dreaming a better life
demanding documents as proof of our humanity
forcing us to put up signs on our windows:
“Hate has no home here.”
This freedom has been making me very angry lately
with its absurd necessity for a right to bear arms
because it hasn’t learned from history, because of
deep-seated ignorance and fear and hate.
There are people dying around me
and I am helpless,
drowning in His moronic madness.
This freedom questions my womanhood again,
forcing me to march on Washington again,
to raise my fist in the air again
because yes sir, I’m a nasty woman!
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
a proud woman, uncensored, and unabashed
And yet here I am again,
my voice shaking with anger
“My body, my choice!”
this poem is continuing to get longer
this freedom is reminding me of the very place I left
This freedom is breaking my heart.
Elaheh Farmand immigrated to the US when she was 11 years-old, leaving her birth country of Iran. In 2016, she founded Immigrants & Exile: Stories of Nostalgia & Longing (https://www.immigrantsandexile.org/) to create a space in which artists can share their feelings of nostalgia, longing, and exile.