Did you hear? She’s gone.
Turned round, kneeled down
gathered up the woman
who climbed a wall to be
near her, on that 4th of July,
the woman she’d heard
protesting, then felt resting
against her robe. She’d kissed her
gently on the forehead
before setting her down
and then — just walked away.
Walked on water right out of the bay,
headed toward the ocean. She’d had enough —
seen enough, heard enough.
She wasn’t made of stone. 

She’d journeyed here to stand
for freedom. Mother of Exiles
they’d named her and she’d stood,
these many years, welcoming the tired,
the poor and huddled masses, the wretched
from other teeming shores. Was even willing
to patiently stand, waiting, while this land
learned how to give liberty to all — including
those of darker skin, of different faiths —
and women too. Stood there, faithfully
as this country sent their boys and men,
and yes finally, women too, to other lands
to fight tyrants and their tyranny. Stood
patiently even when their wars were not
heroic, because she’d heard, listened
to the people’s protest, saw them
rising up. But now,

now she’d seen what she never thought
she’d see. Watched as upon the golden door,
the door beside which she’d lifted high her light,
watched them turn the open sign, the welcome sign,
to closed. Now — she hears children, screaming 
sobbing, taken from mothers, fathers. Feels
their fear. Knows they will never
forget. Knows she will never forget.
Which is why it was time. Time
to shake the dust from her sandals. 
Time to take her light
where it might still
bring hope.

Colette Volkema DeNooyer began her career as a teacher. She later became an ordained United Church of Christ minister, but turning fifty, chose to more intentionally pursue her love of writing. Her poems have appeared in Peregrine (AWA Press) and Dunes Review (Michigan Writers) as well as in Waterlines, an anthology, and her recent book of poems, titled This Time... (Chapbook Press). 

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