Yes we are fierce, yes we take our
possessions with us wherever we go,
especially the ones you cannot see.
In the city at dusk, in a one-room apartment:
the former teacher remembers his childhood
friend and childhood sweetheart, and is moved
to write a poem; there is rain in it, and rice
fields. At a restaurant: the woman who has not
seen her child in years, hesitates as she lifts
a soup spoon to her lips. How does a bowl
transform into an ocean of salt and misgivings?
Its shallow depths are the sign of constant
uprooting, its ripples the sites
of the sloughing off of many skins.
Where will you be tomorrow?
Just when I thought you would stay, a letter
arrives with another forwarding address.
Have you a grandmother, a babushka,
a lola, a nonna? She sits in a doorway
or on a porch, feeling the light on her lids.
Sometimes, pennants of color and noise flit
through the trees, like words in another tongue.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- Landscape, with Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
- El Sagrado Corazon
- Three (More) Improvisations
- The Gift
- Goldfinch in the Garden
- What Cannot Eat
- Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser
- Petition to Fullness
- Heart you Want to Lead in from the Cold
- Unending Lyric
- Dear modest four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath
- Ode to the Pedicure Place at the Mall
- Letter to Attention
- Landscape, with Incipient Questions
- Letter to Stone
- Milagrito: Eye of the Raven
- What You Don’t Always See
- Migrant Letters
- Going to the Acupuncturist in the Market
- The Road of Imperfect Attentions
- In the Country of Lost Hours
- Morning Lesson
- Song of the Seamstress’s Daughter
- Landscape, with Construction Worker, Ants, and Gull
- End Times
- Dream Landscape, with Ray-bans and Leyte Landing
- Pantoum, with Spiderweb and Raindrops
- Landscape, with Variations in Allegory
- Assassin’s Wake
- Private: Each Question is Always the Same Question
- Shroud Villanelle
- Dear Annie Oakley,
- Landscape, with Red Omens
- Late Summer Landscape, with Twilight and Daughters
- Ghazal of Unattainable Silence
- Distance, Then
- Noon Prayer
- In the Convent of Perpetual Adoration
- State of Emergency
- Storm Warning
- Goodbye, Irene
- The Lovers
- Dream of the Four Directions
- Lost Lyric
- Dear recklessness, dear jeweled
- Bearing Fire
5 Replies to “Migrant Letters”
I like! Close to your heart…
I like, too! The migrant, immigrant and exile experiences are crucial, I think, because in a sense virtually all humans are “strangers and sojourners in the land,” as the Bible puts it. Those of us who have more or less stayed put for a few generations sometimes need to be reminded of that.
Strangers and sojourners. Apt, Dave.
I love this poem deeply and intensely. The image of the bowl of soup and the woman eating it will stay with me for awhile.
Yes, I was just going to leave another comment saying that those were my favorite lines, too: “How does a bowl/transform into an ocean of salt and misgivings?”