Refugees

— Barbara Saxton

Scattered like leaves over national borders.
Unwelcome at home, distrusted abroad.

Get out of your vehicle.
Wait! Stand over there! Papers?
No papers?. Exit one life,
shuffle into another. Vault over
barbed wire to stateless existence.

More than twelve million souls
ooze bloodlike out of Syria.
They squat beneath tarps
on Anatolian slopes, pick tomatoes
for pennies in Jordan’s hot fields.
Ragged children’s hard eyes
appraise journalists’ movements.

Thirteen-year-old daughters
are sold into slavery. In Lebanon,
two women’s skeletons lie
curled up together in the kitchen
of a grand mud-brick palace.

History shakes underfoot, waking
from refugee nightmares. In the camps,
tents glow yellow, like new constellations.

Huge columns of ants crawl
across yellow grass, shining black,
as if oiled, then vanish down holes,
bearing thousands of seeds.

After false Arab Spring,
a hard winter arrives.

 

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