Assimilation
by Rebecca Clark

    The man stands here
    at the edge of our road
    crowned by a fur Cossack hat
    robed in leather jacket
    pondering the muddy ditch
    as if the answer runs there
    to questions that sit
    in his dark eyes, rimmed
    by something not yet grasped,
    some translation not yet rendered.

    The woman bore eight children
    before she and her family
    crossed lines of faith
    to come here, where she covers mirrors
    with black cloths of mourning,
    wails aloud in congregations
    in prayer for her sons
    not yet dead,
    wields knives in the kitchen
    and threatens them all with her grief.  

    Her husband brings her forth
    and appeals for treatment
    to heal the wounds in her mind,
    newly opened in this country
    where every hope spills forth
    from shelves of too much plenty.
    "She's just not a good wife anymore."
    Her tired eyes smile across the table
    and we send her home,
    sanguine potions of sanity
    hidden in her palm.






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