Safe Passage

I didn't have to leave a country
with one suitcase haphazardly
stuffed with pictures or deeds of sale.
I didn't have to cross a bridge
whose ramparts were burning at one end.
I never jumped trains rolling through
prairie grass to see sunrise on another
coast. But whose fathers did we trail
across the sea like scrolls of smoke?
Whose child was finally born
in the shadow of a great cathedral?
In the year of curfews, we hung
dark curtains across windows and learned
not to answer the door after a certain
hour; and yet we hid women passing through
to safety, bundling their babies
in soft brown blankets. Pigeons
swooped down on stones strewn with bits
of bread; then their wings blurred a dirty
blue as they took off again.

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