Friday Fictioneers – Mother of Exiles

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!


Mother of Exiles

…“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me…”

Poor Carmina. Our journey was almost more than she could bear. By day she hobbled on blistered feet. By night, she shuddered with the terrors of the jungle, my embrace barely enough to comfort her. But we made it; we slipped across the border into the USA.

Since then I’ve scratched a frugal living here. Carmina died last year; we couldn’t afford medical treatment.

“I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Inlinkz – click here to join the fun

31 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Mother of Exiles

    • Thank you for your very kind comment, Neil. The sentiments of “The New Colossus” are admirable, being both a blast at colonialism and an exhortation to welcome the weak. They are something all civilised nations could, and in my opinion should, adopt. But we, and I include the UK in this, fall woefully short.


  1. It amazes me how we tout the greatness of America while so many turn their backs on the promises that are supposed to make us great. Excellent use of “The New Colossus” to frame your story and remind us of that promise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Nobbin. If America lived by the promises of The New Colossus it would indeed be a great nation. Thank you for your kind words about ghe way I’ve framed my story.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a national shame the US doesn’t have nationalized healthcare for its citizens let alone its non-citizens. The gap between haves and have-nots ever-widens. Even now the help packages Biden approved are being threatened as the republicans think everyone should work at $7/hour and consider themselves lucky to be working. The ideal and the reality don’t mesh at all and your story does a wonderful job of showing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Jade. “The New Colossus” gives a vision of the values that could genuinely make America great. Unfortunately, the other soundbite of American values “You can be who you wanna be,” is a big lie that the fortunate use to justify their good luck, and the poor use to beat themselves up for not being good or motivated enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Powerful and heartbreaking story, Penny. The ‘healthcare wars’ of the US is something I’ll never understand. People get insurance (=solidarity with a cost) for almost everything else, why the fuss about healthcare? It works very well in other countries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind comments, Gabi. The argument is sometimes made that because the US model of healthcare is private sector it benefits from efficient ways of working; public sector provision is seen as inefficient.
      But the USA spends over 17% of GDP on healthcare, and leaves vast swathes of the population with zero or inadequate care. A typical European nation, with mainly state provision of healthcare and some private sector provision, spends less than 10% of GDP in total, state and private. For that, healthcare is universal. These are official UN figures.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well written heartbreaking story. This reality istrue for many Americans too who are dying because they can’t afford medical care. The Pandemic has revealed that America’s broken healthcare is all about profit over people and cost over care.


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