He arrived first as a student of geology
in the bicentennial year.
the fireworks, read the Declaration and believed it.
One by one, he brought his family -- Fatima, Anas,
Nassir. Today they are all citizens. He alone waits.
He built houses, a business, this dream. Eighteen years
of waiting to savor the meat he first smelled roasting
on Manhattan streets. His father's home in Baghdad
is in ruins. The cousins in Najaf are dead, conscripted --
His youngest son has brought the daughter of a family friend
to Virginia to marry. Even she will be a citizen before him.
Each time he travels home, one more letter in his file
for helping the war effort.
Still at each airport, the pat-downs,
pull asides, manhandling -- the eyes.
At the immigration office
they say: one more name check. One more set of fingerprints.
His wife says: now they will not give this. They need to keep him
on this leash.