brother who already lived here. I read that his mother placed a rosary around his neck when he left Guatemala and that rosary provided the only way his body could be identified. I remember scribbling down all the details the article contained and I began to write the poem that night. I too had a mother who regularly prayed the rosary so I felt a kind of kinship to this young boy.
to us, someone whose physical life has ended. I believe the elegy has a kind of resurrection power. While it does not literally bring a person back to life, it does bring them back in a real way, into our imagination, our consciousness, our hearts. I hoped a poem about Gilberto Ramos would do
this. While I usually revise poems for months, this poem got only a few revisions and within a few weeks, I sent it to the Los Angeles Times (Left) who published it in August, 2014. It later became the closing poem in my third book, ACHE, from Sibling Rivalry Press. Since its publication, many people have asked me to read it at readings, it has been re-published several times. I hope the story of this young boy and his mother might open our hearts a bit.
The morning was silent except for the darting of hummingbirds around the desert flowers in the gardens around me. I remember the morning very well because the poem seemed to come out of my pen so easily.
So how to people get so righteous and angry about poor people fleeing from conditions any of us would also flee? What do I want readers to take from this poem? I hope the poem might stir up more compassion and perhaps even love for those whose lives are in danger. I hope the poem might open up a reader to consider this boy, a young boy, his mother, any mother, to more kindness and patience than we normally show people we think are strangers.
He teaches English and Creative Writing at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C. (Left) and writes regularly at www.JosephRoss.net