Lisa Birman: To a Strange Land

Spring '08 TOC

after Walt Whitman

Crossing your borders, you do not know
how small I become.
How conscious of my own skin
of the skin of others.
(A matter of generations)

I do not recognize my face
among these faces, I cannot find my family.
At the airport, I am allowed to pass
to keep up appearances, friendly.

I too am from a young country
newly arrived, and already departed.
I recognize your history, remember your stories
the ones I was not told.

You give me a cottage and a key
a hand, sometimes.
You take layers of skin
years.

I speak softly here, a protest
a whisper, I have chosen and not chosen.
I have waited for the papers, five years
and every day I fear the loss.

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Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
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