“My Brother, Antony”
A Poem by Cindy Nottage
Immigrant Housing & Accompaniment Team (I-HAT)

The message came early,

the words I had dreaded and thought would never come,

ICE was on the doorstep,

            intent on taking Antony away,

            deporting him to a sure death.

Come quickly, it said.

            Come stand vigil for this brother we all love,

            Come witness the horrors ICE perpetuates,

            Come let Antony know we are with him

            Come let the world hear of the cruel actions of our government.

My day had begun with quiet prayers for Antony and all immigrants,

a peaceful beginning now shattered with this frightening news.

Calling on all the strength that my faith and beloved community provides,

I faced my fears and rushed out, not knowing what was awaiting me,

only knowing I had to somehow be there to protect Antony from the inhumanity of ICE.

The house and yard filled with kindred spirits, all there with a single purpose,

to protect Antony and let others know our love for him.

Although ICE had left before I got there, the danger continued,

leaving two choices on how to proceed:

Their ultimatum –

Turn yourself in at the ICE headquarters in Manchester by 2:00.

            For what? Deportation, degradation, death?

Or follow our calling, to keep on fighting with all the tools we had.

The choice was easy, do anything in our power to keep Antony safe.

First, calls to his attorneys, trying to make sense of why this had happened.

We waited,      and waited,      and waited as Maggie spoke to SangYeob,

the fear penetrating the cool, October morning.

And then, the signal we had been praying for,

            A smile and a thumbs-up.

            A reprieve of 10-12 days,

            No surrender at ICE headquarters on this day.

And with his safety assured for now, Antony appeared at the door,

embracing us, soothing us, entering our circle of love.

As we knelt and wept together, his prayer filled us with hope and fortitude.

Our army was ready to continue the fight to keep our brother out of the cruel clutches of ICE,

armed with the arrows of love, kindness, and compassion,

praying for the strength to believe in a just ending for this tale of horror

            A time when these atrocities are a distant memory

            A time when I live in a country that welcomes the stranger

            A time when I can be proud of being an American.