A New Horizon

Vincent Van Gogh via Wikimedia Commons

For Esther and Johnson Medidi at the dedication of the New Horizons Safehouse in Podu, India, and for the young women of New Horizons.

Even now you travel to us,
Our daughters, our sisters,
Some faceless,
Some voiceless,
Some homeless;
You are ravaged warriors,
Your souls unbroken,
Your spirits resilient, fierce
As you march,
Pulled along
By the slender possibility of shelter.

Even now you travel to us
Through shadow country,
Your hopes laced with dreams
Of mango orchards, of a shaded road
Protected by sturdy fencing
And impenetrable brick,
Of a home where scarlet butterflies
Flicker across pure white tile,
Where bedrooms are safe-sealed
Behind doors of burnished teak.

No hand or hammer or hatred
Shall break this seal,
These vows we make to you,
Our lost daughters, our lost sisters
So far from home.

Even now you travel to us
Over rough paths which intersect
The way streams bleed
Into one river Flowing south to Podu.

Even now you travel to us
And hold one another close,
Providing breath when needed,
Clinging hand to hand when necessary,
And thrusting your heads high
Above the drowning,
Above the roar.

And when you arrive,
Our lost daughters and sisters,
We shall wait with gifts
Of fresh mango
And garlands of rose and lily
And chrysanthemum.

We shall say
Please step inside
Into this sanctuary of light
Which is now yours.

And we shall know this to be true:
You were lost,
Our daughters, our sisters,
And you have been found
By following the beacon of your hearts
In unison
At last to home.

Timothy Hillmer lives in Louisville and is the author of The Hookman (Scribner) and Ravenhill (University of New Mexico Press). He is currently on the board for New Horizon Safe House, which has raised half a million dollars to construct a care facility in Podu, India, for young women who have been rescued from sex trafficking.


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