Voyage

Imagine you lived
in a ravaged place, your house
shaking with the loud calls of rage
at uncontrollable forces, the calls
spilling into the street. And now
the house is gone, and during the long fire
that swept through the city
as a Hand dusts a table,
you were taken from the destruction and death
of those who knew you, and you labor among another people,
now, in their language, who feed you
from their bowls and also teach you,
on the leaf-strewn ground, their dancing. Still,
you cannot go home. When you look at the grasses here,
they are not yours; when you rest your forehead on the table
or run your hand over the bedding
that you lay in last night
with the one who holds you
wildly, carefully, these are not yours. It is possible that, if you
ppp displease,
if your voice does not lilt, anything could be taken from you.
Imagine that when you kneel down in the sand by the river
you see instead the ashes and bone chips
that are what's left of your people now, and when you try to
pp hold
a handful to you, even that is merely the luminous green
river silt. You cannot remember their voices
under the river of other voices.
How then are you to sing in a strange land?


From STRANGE LAND (University Press of Florida, 2001)

 

Poems by Sharon Kraus

Eighth Week, Driving Home After The Sonogram, Beethoven

Voyage

What If