Immigrant nostalgia

I had forgotten all about this poem, until today when I went digging in the ruins of my “writing” folder. Here is a poem over six years old.

– Immigrant nostalgia –
If I say it, you will put me on the old brown shelf–
So I’ll only whisper to the moon at night
how my heart strains for the absence of time
while it absorbs the concreteness of place
in quiet afternoons and expanding dawns.
How my niece’s brown hopeful, patient eyes
give me reason to live at a kindergartner’s pace.
How the endless nights still call for me
back to searching the clouds for light.
How the settling of dust on leaves can mean
much more than pages of printed lines.
How the gathering of heavy clouds assembles
hymns of rapture like an endless choir.
But if I say it, you will shelve me out of sight,
some Other drawer, with some Other label.
To you my knowing of yesterdays
are denials of your here and now.
But I don’t spin on my own axis alone.
Without a second line, my poem won’t rhyme.
How can you understand? Your life is sufficient
to itself, and I am forever split
into one who weeps when the other has flown.

(March 11, 2002.)

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