“To My Father Who Immigrated to America” by Miriam Manglani

How scared you must have been
leaving your native Egypt,
the only home you knew,
leaving your parents,
your seven siblings,
your friends,
by boat at twenty-two
with only sixteen dollars in your pocket,
driven out by antisemitism,
the gang of Arabs
who beat you,
almost killing you for being Jewish.

Perhaps you saw glints of the lives
you would create and change
in the waters of the gleaming Mediterranean
you crossed —

Perhaps you saw in France
beneath the layers of soot
on the copper chimneys you cleaned
for one long dirty year —
to make your way to the states,
glimmers of the trail you burned years later
as a renowned OB/GYN,
reflections of the many women you saved
who regarded you as a quiet hero,
facets of the worlds you helped create
for your future wife, children,
and your grandchildren
who only know your cold grave.

When you stepped on American soil,
did you feel the rush of wind
from the golden doors
of opportunity swinging wide open?

Perhaps you saw and felt none
of those wondrous things,
but you still gave rise to them.

Miriam Manglani is an emerging writer with poetry published in Village Square, Poetry Quarterly, Rushing Thru the DarkVita Brevis, and Cerasus Magazine. Find her at www.miriammanglani.com.

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