I've Come Here from so Far
At age 10, Rebecca John cried when she learned she would soon receive an American passport, but today, she is reimagining the possibilities of migration without borders
“How removed is the pathos of the stowaway from the rage of the hijacker? The body falling out of the sky is the other and silent half of the story of international travel and tourism. We are reminded that not everyone crosses borders alive, despite the cheerful acceptance of globalization by many governments of the world. Standing near his son’s unmarked grave, a mound of brown earth ringed by stones and covered with a plastic sheet, Mohammed Ayaz’s father said, ‘My son was as strong as four men but he died in search of bread.’”
— Amitava Kumar, Flight from Bombay-London-New York
On the hottest days of summer, the air is misty and tropical and Brooklyn is a ship sailing in stagnant water. Every now and then I have to find a large body of water to be near, feel at at peace and like something is larger than me, can swallow me like it swallows the fallen unsung who leave leave home because home is a perpetual earthquake. The day is hot and cloudy, and the Statue of Liberty poses ironically in the skyline as usual. I sit by the pier in the ugliest spot I could pick – by the cargo crates – because today I didn’t want to romanticize the water, its murmuring waves and haunting rhythm. Haunted with the stories of the 200, 300, 700 migrants, all their joys and pains devoured by the ocean. There is an army of upright logs in the water for small ships to dock to; this is the small cemetery I sit by. The crates are buoying up and down lazily in the water, creaking ominously while families enjoy the last days of summer eating and playing by the shore.