Archbishop Óscar Romero’s birthday was last week. My family marked the date with a trip to a pupusería for dinner, something I know some other friends were doing a couple time zones away. I know that the Catholic church is in the process of beatifying him, which I think is maybe how you become a saint. No longer a believer myself, I’m only glad that I was able to pray at Romero’s tomb while in El Salvador in 2002.
Americans would do well to understand that our current refugee crisis with unaccompanied Central American minors has everything to do with the atrocities against which Romero bravely preached and U.S. involvement in those atrocities.
Por un Futuro Mejor
When asked about the war
Miguel lifts his shirt to show
a tangle of scars from
a homemade bomb.
Imagine Miguel in conflict outside
el Museo de la Revolución Salvadoreña,
tracing the lines on his stomach,
which is now so uneasy.
A neighborhood of sadness and struggle,
como la linea.
La Linea where he makes his home,
a sprawling slum from San Martín
to Soyapango and beyond,
a sea of shacks on a decommisioned rail line.
Miguel remembers it wasn’t always this way.
He tells a story of a boy he grew up with
who lost his legs to a speeding train.
“The existence of poverty as a lack
of what is necessary
is an indictment.”
Miguel never heard the Archbishop’s words
broadcast on rebel radio
while fighting on the other side,
but he can’t get them out of his head.
Imagine me in Morazán
outside that same museum.
Me and Miguel and Monterrosa’s ghost
and a myriad of unanswerable questions
about life and death, wealth and without
and history’s immutable thirst for blood.