By Eyyup Esen

A single mom with Two Daughters

Fleeing from her country,

People wanting to take away her freedom.

Her hope was to live in a camp in Germany.

What a dream?

Not even enough nutrition to breastfeed her little twin daughters.

She named them Hope and Promise.

Right before her husband passed away, she told him,

“Let’s name them Hope and Promise.”

Hope—they would never lose hope in this life, and Promise

No matter what, they would serve humanity.

At the border after an exhausting journey to Germany

Innocently but shamefully detained by the border police

Who asked, “What brought you here?

Do your daughters need milk?”

The mother bursting into tears

As she was not asked this question for a few days.

Kids were smiling.

Should it not be natural that babies would smile always?

No, if you do not have food to eat, milk to drink,

You don’t smile.

Their mother was smiling, too.

It was the smile of hope, it was the smile of promise.

Being allowed to stay in the same room with her babies,

What else could she have wanted?

She did not have big dreams.

No, do not look down on her.

That was her dream.

That’s the biggest dream of a young mom,

Being allowed to sleep in the same room with her babies.

Yes, she was in the camp in a little grey tent.

Maybe it was the color of hypocrisy.

It was the color of desperation.

No, she would add her own flavor and

Convert the color of grey to “Hope and Promise.”

Waking up in the wee hours of the day

Getting ready to prepare breakfast for herself and her family and neighbors

Who she was planning to invite but she remembered

She was in a camp in a little tent.

No refrigerator, no extra food, no coffee, no dessert to offer.

Having to get into a line of 300 people.

She was peaceful although her heart seemed torn to pieces.

She had to bear it for her kids and keep her hope alive.

She could never break her promise to humanity.

No matter what. She would serve humanity not now but maybe in the future?

No, that cannot be her goal.

It was her turn after waiting for 300 people.

She saw another mother who looked more hungry than she was.

Looking at her and giving her turn to her.

Not speaking the same language,

Not having the same skin color, but did it matter?

Their color was the color of water,

It was the color of equality.

It was the color of Hope and Promise.

—Eyyup Esen, Ph.D., a representative of the Dialogue Institute of Kansas City, read this poem at the March 6, 2021, rally of Advocates of Silenced Turkey. Born and raised in Turkey, Esen has published two books: Global Warming of Hearts! and I Am Not Color Blind.