Faces/1 (A Letter from Prison)
by Mark Chmiel
Thinking of you a lot these days
Been reading the martyrs
Here in my homey little cell
(For a while I got solitary for asking disruptive questions)
Wanted to send you this little gem from Monseñor
It’s like he read my mind
I’ll try to call you collect
Before you take off on your odyssey
Love in a Time of Nukes,
The church in Latin America
Has much to say about humanity.
It looks at the sad picture
Portrayed by the Puebla conference:
Faces of landless peasants
Mistreated and killed by the forces of power,
Faces of laborers arbitrarily dismissed
And without a living wage for their families,
Faces of the elderly,
Faces of outcasts,
Faces of slum dwellers,
Faces of poor children who from infancy
Begin to feel the cruel sting of social injustice.
For them, it seems, there is no future—
No school, no high school, no university.
By what right have we cataloged persons as first-class persons or second-class persons?
–Oscar Romero, El Salvadoran Archbishop
–from the novel, Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine