I crossed an ocean too.
     We were not running from bullets.
         We were not important enough
to be political prisoners.
         There was no war, I have
no visible shrapnel scars.
                 Only a recent calamity
that left my whole city in ruins,
that tore my house in two.
     Two weeks after the earth shook 
like toy maracas
             father swayed against the door frame
in his faded yellow bathrobe 
as if to say goodbye.
                  In the morning he choked
as mother spooned soft scrambled eggs
into his mouth.
          Then his eyes rolled back in his head
and he stiffened in the chair.
                Can I say we took him
to the hospital if the hospital
was barely standing? I can see
                the shape made by the feather
stroke of blood that issued
from the corner of his mouth.
                The sky lifted with the noise
of rescue helicopters.
We were not on them.
I was not on them.
            I found another way across
the ocean. I took
what was offered and learned
to hide the sounds of hurt
from my ears.        A précis
reveals the meaning 
      of the original but can it explain its value. 
Years later I can't erase
       the taste of guilt from my tongue, shake
                this habit of always looking back.

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