Inés Is Inés
By John Timpane
Eighteen artificial-light months in Name of church in Name of town,
Name of state.
Freedom and democracy don’t come out
Or they’ll be snatched by law and order and cast so far
Away they’ll lose their names, their faces, lose all
The reasons Inés came here thirty years ago,
Worked, paid taxes, raised children, and thanked God for
Freedom and democracy. All that time Inés was
OK until Inés in a yank of levers, a swirl of robes, became
Not OK, until it became venal, lethal. Her
Children were born here stamped
Legal. But Inés hides in
Where freedom and democracy live, a comedy:
The feds buzz the church, drive-by, drive-by; they know
All about Inés and look for a
Moment’s forgetting, a face outdoors,
And swoop. But
Look: the local cops stand guard in the parking lot:
No feds in our house. Inés is Inés
Long as she stays in the shadows
And the sun rises on freedom and democracy.
This is the morning the guardians turn stalkers.
This is the night a nation of children sundered from parents are smuggled into the desert.
This is the vault of vampires trading
Conscience for power,
This is the lab of tyrants creating crisis
Where there is none;
This is the scream of air rushing out of church, office, garden;
This is why there is no air or freedom or democracy as Inés cooks tamales beneath a church the night before Christmas, with her free children around her, not in a church, beneath us all.
This is the truth about sanctuary: there is no sanctuary except
For everyone the vote, prayer for those who pray.