13 December 2007

Saint America

from a distance
Originally uploaded by Katherine H.
When the ship passed close by
I saw that she was a woman.
Below her there were so many boats
that I thought it was
the Madonna of Porto Salvo.
She was dressed like the statue
of my mother church;
at least it seemed to me.
It didn’t matter that she had
a stern face and a strange crown
on her head with threatening spikes.
I knelt down and started to pray.

A barber from Palermo who arrived
in America for the second time told me:
“Get up stupid. It is not a Saint.
It is Liberty.”
But I was unable to understand.

I cried like a baby at the thought that
soon I would be reunited
with my husband and children.

By now Sicily was faraway
and also her Saints.
I decided that she was my new Saint.
It was America. Saint America!

I remained on my knees
and continued to pray.”

(From the diary of an immigrant woman, 1907)

Miss Liberty

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