Long Line Inexorably Moving, April 12, 2016
(a double abecedarian)
Zoned camps strung with barbed wire. Sandwiches, weak tea,
yearning wives, their memories of Aleppo (Haleb),
xysters, scraping their bones. Baby cries with colic,
weary children whine; they all witnessed the transcribed dead.
Violence, thieves, the worst and the best, each refugee
united into one braid of misery, the good beside the riffraff
through the slough of despond, viscous bog,
stinging gnats, shoes wear out, deserts, cacti, thorny brush,
rain, good days and bad, smooth path, rocks, boulders, steep wadi
quota of good luck (Fatima's hand) and bad, evil eye. Not a holy haj.
Pity exhausted, religion exhausted, hungry, thirsty, no going back.
Open the waters of daydreams, uncover the well
now for the families, old, young, before hopes dim—
mountains, another border, another country. Learn
left out. Learn No to strangers. No to refugees from Aleppo.
Keep walking. NO COUNTRY wants you; it's a no destination trip.
Justice demolished in Syria, homes blasted, burned ancient suq
ICARDA agricultural scientists fled from the war,
harvest from their experimental fields now in ISIS's
granaries, but the heirloom seed bank, smuggled out:
fava beans, barley, wheat, lentils to Lebanon's Agricultural Bureau,
every seed for survival. Refugee maps without a single isogriv
drawn to a safe place to find work, a little house, a window
centered on a little garden, vine and fig tree, where mothers can relax,
be safe, where little girls play hajla, hopscotch, jumping happy,
and baby laughs for the first time and golden bees buzz.