Poem for El Dia Del Padre
For M.A.A. and A. A.L.
The girl slips her hand into his Imagining the words she will speak In his own language Papi, quiero pizza Without sensing the words on his mind Deportación, migra, que será de la reforma, m’ija? Or even “Illegal alien”.
They walk the narrow sidewalks, And from behind there is nothing alien About the way her body hugs his. She has the same gait, Legs short and lagging in city traffic. The soft down on her back is his, And they raise the same thick wealth of eyebrows At the line of cars. Father’s Day in a New York minute.
They continue past shops and greet, Although the only Spanish she speaks is whispered at bed, Among kicked-off covers in the lone room they share, Her sticky little face molded into his arm. Or upon leaving her school in the afternoon Amidst a flurry of mothers pecking at their clothes And herding children along while He waits to take her hand, His work uniform still pressed from the morning And his black hair shining.
Still she listens to the señoras and understands As if she were the one they were talking to. She has no idea That one day soon She might need to use this language to ask Her family Why her father had to leave.
- Sarah Harden