A Palimpsest


We brought food and flowers
to the new neighbor. She said
she was so happy to have found 
someone who looked like her,
here in these quiet streets, leaf-
spattered, drenched with pink
and white crinkled blooms.
We laughed, comparing 
how our tongues slid over
the name of the city, where
to voice or glide the fricative,
when to energize the sonorant.  
At the naval station, 14 piers
and 11 aircraft hangars; carrier
strike groups, submarines 
making up the Atlantic Fleet.
Wind moving through the trees
sometimes makes a liquid sound,
as though a school of unseen fish
is making its way toward the bay.
Everything’s a history lesson,
a document leaning slightly against 
the stones, the furniture. Even the rice 
cooker in our kitchens: what brands 
our mothers will or will not buy
because some are made in a country
that went to war with them.  

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