Two by two they walked
from the ends of the earth
strung together like beads destined for the same necklace.
Male and Female,
twoness of one.
The journey long,
the destination uncertain,
the only map
traced in the gaps between them
at those fleeting points of union
that stubbornly defy their uncompromisable disunion.
Like me. But not
Carrying the burdens and the blessing
of a newness not mine.
When hatred of the other
becomes hatred of my Other,
I am successfully assimilated.
Twoness tentatively mended.
Agnostic of my
Why have you forsaken me?
You, who know this pain of an ever-tilting universe.
Of brokenness upon brokenness.
Until I don’t know,
until I can’t remember.
My ancestor was a wandering Aramaean.
He was Abraham
She was Ruth,
robbed of Your Promise.
You outstretched Your right hand
and I knew
Shame. Rejection. Rootlessness.
And life on a margin of quicksand.
Seduced into tearing at my inseparable dividedness
I am Cain,
killing my Other
again and again.
Doomed to walk my New World
tick-tocking bloody footsteps.
Insults. Glass ceilings. Conditional acceptance.
And self-loathing measured in decades.
in the midst
of the gaps of my twoness
of the holes in the beads strung from a faraway self
I find a gossamer thread
like manna in the wilderness.
I walk this fragile tightrope of my Self and discover
I am not my gaps, my dividedness, my ill-fitted self.
I am more.
I am my two Selves:
Male and Female.
Cain and Abel.
Ishmael and Isaac.
I am Promise fulfilled,
only twisted into something less recognizable
but altogether me
and not me.
Bilingual. Bicultural. Bi-me-and-not-me.
My being and not-being
I am on a forever-pilgrimage to the never-destination
found in my deepest longings
and in an American Dream
that is co-equally and eternally
I am gifted
in the art of mending,
of healing hurts,
of fashioning a delicate yet resilient wholeness from twoness
with nothing but hand-me-downs, catch-22s and second-class citizenship.
The scars of my mended Self
heal into a bittersweet reminder
that I love my native land, my native tongue, my native food, my native music,
my native hips,
my native idiosyncrasies,
my Native within me,
who now belongs more to this alien nation
than to those shores long ago lost in the Flood.
I am Rumba and Rock,
¡Felíz Navidad! and Chicken Dance,
Ricky and Lucy.
In my places of mendedness
where I wrestle with the Angel of Belonging,
I emerge with my long-sought blessing, but
over which Self I have been unfaithful to.
a syncopated dance
between fidelity and infidelity.
Oh, to go home!
To find home!
A home without
that matches my composite of home within.
From the ends of my Self
I have strung together a lifetime of burdens and blessings,
of promise and betrayal,
and redeemed them by virtue of my immigrant work ethic.
I roll away the stone of my dividedness
after 40 years of Self-wilderness wandering,
of living under the yolk of oppression of Otherness
and the unwritten law of “us” versus “them”
a new creation
from the old, the incongruous, the impossible,
I am Lazarus,
No less me,
IGMARA SANCHEZ PRUNIER is a Cuban-born immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen raised in New York and New Jersey. She’s worked in both hospital and community-based healthcare settings, and is currently serving as a hospice chaplain in Midlothian, Virginia.