There is one among my fine lot of friends who, once upon a time, found herself in love with a hard-working Mexican man. She visited him often, waited for him to receive a green card.

When he finally had the prize in hand, they were married by the local Catholic priest, and flew north to establish a family.

Their family has grown; they have added both a boy and a girl. These children, the son and daughter of a hard-working immigrant father and a hard-loving American mama, are coming up under the star spangled banner. They are good, appreciative children (even if a little wild-eyed).

I’ve thought a great deal about these kids lately, how they are the best of what our country has to offer—the inclusive beauty that we represent on our best days. This poem is for them, the children.

Nuevos Santos

Leo came both by water and by land,
crossed the border in a vessel, a cargo hold;
in the womb of an American daughter
was the best seed of a Mexican

Like a comet, he seared first an invisible
path through Nogales. Through labor,
he broke ozone, streaked blood,
blistered the barriers of sound
con el rugido de un gran

That roar–the fierce, scorching,
guttural timeless–his first of first,
was baptism of virgin ears on the
morning he learned to inherit sound,
and fury, and a people who are

Leo crouches, he and his brothers;
they are the first of better people,
the nuevos santos,
the gentle furious,
the provocative
runners of freedom’s