They knew from the very first
this would be a job
only a woman would do.
Standing through the seasons
in this harbor over a hundred years
offering what we French call hospitalité.
This wasn’t for haute cuisine and wine.
I was put here, an immigrant myself,
to welcome refugees
from famine and oppression,
asking only that they do their part
to protect the ideals and way of life
that moved always
in the direction of freedom.
Sometimes my presence
served to remind this
congregation of immigrants
that only a few can call
this their native land – and they never
owned the land so much as respected it
and kept it friendly to all creatures.
History knit us together in community
when natives and newcomers rose up,
fought together and died to remove
dictators from power –
declared enemies of liberty.
I don’t know if I can bear
this flame much longer.
He makes his home here now,
and would build a wall,
cage the children who would
give us the next generation of freedom.
For all I have seen from here,
watching the towers in flames,
seeing the bodies falling –
none of it drove me to fits of crying.
But lately, seeing the dream of democracy
reduced to a cruel
farce staged by and for one vain man –
I am so alone out here.
And I weep for you.