Skip to main content

Care

Care

Craig Santos Perez


My 16-month old daughter wakes from her nap
and cries. I pick her up, press her against my chest

and rub her back until my palm warms
like an old family quilt. “Daddy’s here, daddy’s here,”

I whisper. Here is the island of Oʻahu, 8,500 miles
from Syria. But what if Pacific trade winds suddenly

became helicopters? Flames, nails, and shrapnel
indiscriminately barreling towards us? What if shadows

cast against our windows aren’t plumeria
tree branches, but soldiers and terrorists marching

in heat? Would we reach the desperate boats of
the Mediterranean in time? If we did, could I straighten

my legs into a mast, balanced against the pull and drift
of the current? “Daddy’s here, daddy’s here,” I

whisper. But am I strong enough to carry her across
the razor wires of sovereign borders and ethnic

hatred? Am I strong enough to plead: “please, help
us, please, just let us pass, please, we aren’t

suicide bombs.” Am I strong enough to keep walking
even after my feet crack like Halaby pepper fields after

five years of drought, after this drought of humanity.
Trains and buses rock back and forth to detention centers.

Yet what if we didn’t make landfall? What if here
capsized? Could you inflate your body into a buoy

to hold your child above rising waters? “Daddy’s
here, daddy’s here,” I whisper. Drowning is

the last lullaby of the sea. I lay my daughter
onto bed, her breath finally as calm as low tide.

To all the parents who brave the crossing: you and your
children matter. I hope your love will teach the nations

that emit the most carbon and violence that they should,
instead, remit the most compassion. I hope, soon,

the only difference between a legal refugee and
an illegal migrant will be how willing

we are to open our homes, offer refuge, and
carry each other towards the horizon of care.


Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 11, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Someshwara shataka

ಚರಿಪಾರಣ್ಯದ ಪಕ್ಷಿಗೊಂದು ತರು ಗೊಡ್ಢಾಗಲ್ ಫಲಂ ಈವಿದಾ
ಮರಗಳ್ ಪುಟ್ಟವೆ ಪುಷ್ಪವೊಂದು ಬಳಲಲ್  ಭ್ರಂಗಕ್ಕೆ ಪೂವಿಲ್ಲವೆ
ನಿರತಂ ಸತ್ಕವಿಗೋರ್ವ ಗರ್ವಿದಂ ನೃಪ ತಾಂ ಲೋಭಿಯಾಗಲ್ ನಿಜಂ
ಧರೆಯೊಳ್ ದಾತರು ಪುಟ್ಟರೆ ಹರ ಹರಾ ಶ್ರೀ ಚೆನ್ನ ಸೋಮೇಶ್ವರ

Will a bird in the wild go hungry just because one fruit tree dries up? If one flower withers, will not the bee get any flowers? If one haughty king is miserly, will there be no patrons (of poetry) on this earth?


ಕೆಲವಂ ಬಲ್ಲವರಿಂದ ಕಲ್ತು ಕೆಲವಂ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಂಗಳೋದುತಂ
ಕೆಲವಂ ಮಾಳ್ಪವರಿಂದ ಕಂಡು ಕೆಲವಂ ಸುಜ್ಙಾನದಿಂ  ನೋಡುತಂ
ಕೆಲವಂ ಸಜ್ಜನಸಂಗದಿಂದಲರಿಯಲ್ ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞನಪ್ಪಂ ನರಂ
ಪಲವಂ ಪಳ್ಳ ಸಮುದ್ರವೈ ಹಾರ ಹರಾ ಶ್ರೀ ಚೆನ್ನ ಸೋಮೇಶ್ವರ

Learning from wise men, reading from good books, observing others  work and learning from good company, these are the ways a man becomes omni-scient (sarvajna - one who knows everything). Just like many streams join together to make an ocean.

P.S.
1) If you find some of my wordings in this shataka is wrong, please let me know. It is a 40 year old memory.
2) There are also many tripadis(poems with 3 lines ,…

How to get straight hair

Straight hair, silky and shiny hair, lustrous hair!!! How do these terms matter to us, who have crossed the expiry date? But when I saw that one of the prizes is Galaxy Tab, I decided anything for a Galaxy tab.

Step 1: Head out in my scooty which also looks tired and aged. Come near a Kirana store and stop. But where is the Kirana store, it has changed into a super market. There goes the plan of asking the shop keeper to give me one bottle of Sunsilk straight hair shampoo.

Step 2: Go to a super market and head for the shampoos section and take out a bottle and move it close to your eyes and then far, then again near and again far. Shoppers around me wonder if I am looking at some optical illusion. No I can read only it is sunsilk, but is it straight hair shampoo or ordinary or anti-dandruff or some thing else. Why do I always forget to wear glasses when out shopping?

Step 3: Ask the sales girl whether this is straight hair shampoo from sunsilk, giving her the bottle. She first stares…

Art therapy?

The other day, I was feeling little bit off. That happens most of the time, doesn't it? Well, that day I was feeling more off than usual. And was trying to fill the gigantic void with television shows, dumb mobile games and of course food.

Then I got up and took my color kit and started painting. OK, I am not an artist and am quite bad at it. But still I paint plain colors on empty jam and sauce bottles now and then. And it helps. And mind you, I started this much before these the "art therapy" became hip.

I even try to do some sewing. But that is more time consuming and needs better eyes. I may have patience and attention span of a two year old. So sewing is not for me.

So, the question arises, why don't I use this form of meditation - for the lack of better word, every time? I would have been ten kgs lighter and much much calmer. I don't have an answer. Here is my work from that day.

Again the photo has another story - I took the photo on old dining table clu…