Immigrant Mother

Immigrant Mother
By Silvia Fiorita Smith

This was never home,
No soft place to fall,
Always too cold and strange,
Words incomprehensible,
Humanity blended in 
An urban jungle,
Only comfort a small plot
Of earth where a few plants
Flourished under care,
Unfamiliar bus routes,
Leaning on a seven year old
To tell you what the doctor said,
Taking in boarders and other children
To make ends meet,
Setting up a little business,
That will keep you home
And reassure your husband
That supper would always
Magically appear as soon as he did,
Halloween a mystery,
Thanksgiving too,
Waiting eagerly for mail
In small blue envelopes,
The voice of your own dear mother
Never heard again,
A transatlantic eight day voyage,
Then huddled in Halifax,
Bizarre little boxes handed out
To weary travelers,
Corn Flakes, soon to be a Breakfast staple,
An affront to Europeans 
Who fed corn to pigs,
A long trip by sooty train
To Montreal,
Your life packed in a metal trunk,
Ushered out of Windsor Station
Three children in tow,
Into a taxi late at night,
To a house in Park Extension,
Rented by the husband you
Have not seen for four years,
Neighbours of all kinds,
Your laundry freezes on the line,
And then another child comes 
On scene, the Canadian baby
You cannot share with family,
Back home in Italy, 
They raise a toast 
To the newborn and wish her well,
This new world a mixed bag
Of emotions, events, experiences,
Confronted with no one 
To hold your back,
Consoled by faith and Mother Mary,
Thousands share a similar story,
But I knew yours best,
It is the one that I grew up with,
The one I believed just as
You told me,
Why I tried to make you happy
All those years,
I felt a huge responsibility,
Because I was the outsider,
The one who was born away,
Because I was at home.