Jul/Aug 2010 Poetry

Strange Land

by Erica Goss

Artwork by Costel Iarca

Strange Land

Wind brings
the American desert
to our front door

inside the house
it's the old country

America takes practice
mother prepares
our daily lessons

each morning we emigrate
our fermenting lunchboxes
ripe with foreign stink

the war of two languages
leaves us mute in school
speak up, the teacher says

red ants pierce the heart
of our flimsy suburb
slip into bags of sugar

paper wasps ping the house
build nests from wood
and their own fierce saliva

the insatiable wind
presses against the walls
America drifts under the doorsill

mother scrubs the hot windows
scans the hazy air
always look up, she says

how did she outlast her childhood
in a black cellar
while bombers inked the sky?

our questions pain her
it's enough to survive
don't ask me for more


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