The Annunciation

In my America, niño,
our green is locked
in hard brown buds
for half a year,
and what lies dozing
under snow
waits to be freed,
unfastened,
if there is life left
to undo.

My people wait
like naked bulbs
of the narcissus
to rise up gold
but they cannot.
In the dark cells
of their wintering,
their hearts
have grown cold.

I would like to give you
a world of lilies,
madonna-white,
their pure delicate fragrance
blowing like sweet breaths
over your smoking night.

Niño, if it could be done,
I would turn my people
into fields of flowers
where, on your bare brown feet,
you could run
with your kite
and be young.

Well then, querido,
do what you can
to believe that
what the angel said
would happen once
came true
and will again.

Even in El Salvador.
Especially there.

Betsy Lincoln was a poet and former English professor living in Wickford, Rhode Island, at the time this poem appeared. She and her husband, John, assisted Southeast Asian refugees and were sponsors of the Salvadoran youth to whom this poem is dedicated.

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