A Pilgrim Am I
by McKenzie Romero
I want to fly to Mexico.Previous Honorable Mention
I want to look up, and see red clay roofs
Baking in the desert sun.
I want to buy soda that’s made from real
And bottled up
In ocean green glass.
I want to pass by and see some boys
Playing baseball and chewing gum,
Rose pink and chartreuse
In their mouths.
I want to look down an early morning street,
And see a pig-tailed chiquita
With silky black eyes, and the curve
Of a native face.
I think I can see her now.
Her ancestors were warriors,
And watchers of the stars.
Their legacy lives on in her,
Even as she skips to the mercado
To buy tortillas
For a family breakfast.
I want to hear a woman’s voice
Singing songs of love and pride,
As it drifts from an open window,
With the smell of soap and linen.
She would be housecleaning,
Performing a duet
With her radio.
I want to stay awhile
In some sleepy pueblo,
And learn the people’s tongue.
I would eat of their food, and drink of their cup,
And grow dark
In their sunlight.
And when both my mind and my belly were full,
I would say
To my dear foster town,
“Adios. Que Dios te bendiga,”
And hesitate at its outskirts.
But I would not stay.
(John Muir said, “The world is big.”
The mountain man was right.
There is so much to see.)
I would lift up my eyes
And soar over the vast depths
Of the Atlantic.
I would look down and see frothy,
And the bulk of some creature
Just below the surface.
A whale, perhaps, but a part of me would wonder
Does Leviathan still lurk
In the deep, dark canyons
Of the ocean?
I would touch down in the night and, eyes heavy,
Fall into a moon bright pool
Of sheets and pillows,
The Mazzaroth above sparkling
Ice blue and soft.
Those poor stars. They are so tired.
They were there when Adam laid down
In a lush bed of grass,
And smiled up at them.
“My brothers,” he said.
“Our brother,” said the stars.
“My sons,” God said,
And He kissed them all goodnight.
For He had breathed forth life
Into Adam’s lungs
As He had breathed forth the constellations.
Now, the stars have lost their brother.
Only their Father knows how they have sobbed,
As they watched Adam’s children
Shake their fists toward heaven,
Only to fall
And have their bones
Turn to dust.
We are the sorrow
Of the Milky Way.
Those ancient orbs of fire
Now watch me.
Will I be loved in the eyes of their Father,
Or will I be a fool, carried off by the slightest
Puff of air?
My dreams would be dizzy, and panicked
With the burdens of my soul.
How can my race not wither
At the thought of His face?
Oh, God, how am I going
To look into Your eyes?
I would wake early, and lie in a sweaty,
Tangled mess of sheets,
Tears slipping down my cheeks.
The sun would rise, bursting in beams of
Citrus colored light.
Lemon yellows, and oranges, and pinks as soft as
Sunday morning blushes.
My heart would lift at this.
“That’s pretty,” I’d say.
Only after a breakfast of fish and figs
Would I remember where I was.
A thick Hebrew accent
On the tongue of a stranger
Would further convince me.
I would wander around the Israeli land.
The hills, the deserts, the streams
And the shores of Galilee.
Under the Judean sun, I’d grow darker still.
I would listen to rabbis teaching Scripture,
And children talking about
How much they love
To be out of school.
I would let the wonders they have seen and heard
Wash over me.
I would feel the Jordan’s waters running deep
In my veins.
I would sing the Psalms of David
With the four winds of heaven
And see a pillar of fire in my dreams.
Yes, all these things and more I’d do,
About the Author
I am a resident of the Wyoming Rocky Mountains. I love reading, writing, and appreciating beauty in any form at all - be it art or nature. A huge cornerstone of my life is my faith in God, and I hope to continue seeking His face in my writing for many years to come.