Word on the street is that

There needs to be more regulations

When it comes to immigration

Word on the street is that

This country belongs to them

That they have the key

That this home is theirs

That only they can decide

Who can come in

Who can get out

And I am just a visitor

And so I must remain polite

Or else they will escort me out.

But if I may ask

How many more regulations should there be when

It takes years of applying and dozens of interviews

Before one can be potentially considered eligible

For the status of immigrant

When it takes tragedy of some sorts

Recalling and retelling all the dark realities of one’s past

Accepting that someone weighs your trauma

For the status of immigrant

And if I may ask

How did this country become yours?

And if you have the answer,

Can you share that secret with me?

How much did it cost you?

How much sweat did it take?

Asking for a friend.

Asking for the 276 schoolgirls

Who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria

Asking for the 1152 victims of rape

Every single day in Congo

Asking for the thousands of migrants turned slaves

Currently being auctioned in Libya

Asking for the millions of lives lost

During the genocide in Rwanda

Asking for the millions of families who are left behind

When their world gets turned upside down

Caught up between wars they never asked for

How did this country become your own

And does my friend stand a chance?

Pardon me but since you’ve got the key

May I ask you this

How hard is it to manufacture a spare key or perhaps

A couple of those

And sure this is your home

But with 47% of it uninhabited

Isn’t it too big for just you?

Well my bad.

I apologize.

I am just a visitor.

But if I may ask again

How did you get here?

Again. Asking for a friend. Or two

Was there a competition

That won you a seat at the table?

Did you sing your way into

Your family’s genealogy tree?

Did you score an A+ and sent

The most convincing letter to the universe

Asking to be admitted into the

American citizen society?

What did you do that my friend wouldn’t have done?

What did you give that my friend wouldn’t have given?

Pardon my intrusion

I know I am just a visitor

But if I may ask one last time

Can you take a moment to find

Bits you in my friends?

Can you picture what life would be like

If the roles were reversed?

And if so,

How much more regulations would you ask for?

Speaking for a friend

There is no free ticket to this country.

Speaking for a friend

It takes years to learn how to pronounce

Certain syllables without sounding un-American

It takes hours of labor to make ends meet

It takes juggling between two but often times more worlds

It takes being a citizen of the earth

It takes adapting to change without the certainty

That you will ever fully adjust

It takes risking it all with no fear for death

This one has become all too familiar by then

It takes every bit of strength, courage, resilience

And faith to be an immigrant in this country.

This isn’t free.

-Marianne Murekatete

4 thoughts on “For/From a friend

  1. marianne….how can i get in touch with you?….i would like permission to reprint this poem….jory squibb, camden, maine…207 236 8962


  2. Hey Monique,I love your writing, you have a style of your own, deep observations, political stand and I admire your rich vocabulary in English. I will be visiting your blog on a regular basis.


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