I Want to Pray With You

I Want to Pray With You
Maria E. McCabe
4/30/2013

I want to pray with you.
But first m’hijitos, can we talk?

You see I come with history,
I come with movies inside my head.
Did you know I once cleaned houses
to pay for school?

I come from courage and mountains,
the muted song of humble grief.
I travel with exquisite courtesy,
sometimes it’s hard for others to understand.

I am not Sharks and Jets,
or cocaine kingpins,
or hotel maids,
or even enchiladas.

I am the lament of the Taino
for Borinquen, Tierra del Encanto.

I want to pray with you.
But do you know m’hijitos?
Sometimes I am afraid my prayers
are asked to take a different elevator than yours.

Shunted to God’s service entrance,
the line for people without passports.
Busboys. Lawn guys. Supermarket checkers
with lightning hands and accents in their names.

Maria is happy to serve you.

Mestiza. Elder of the borderlands.
Ciudadana sin fronteras.
Half breed woman. Creator of my own dignity.
Poet of my own historia.

It means so much to me to pray with you.
I pray that we will learn each others language.
I challenge you!
Perdon — I forget my manners…
I invite you.
Can you learn mine?

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