Lustgarten Poetry Contest -- Second Prize Winning Poem
Poem submitted by Joanne Pilgrim of East Hampton

Field of blue lights,
Cirrus, nimbus,
anvil and dark
A minefield map of maybes,
The jet climbs nose up
in arrogant assumption
while the people walking towards borders
become traffic
jammed into corners
jammed onto muddy fields
and in the frame of the railway bed
crossing the camp
two lie on jagged gravel
pulling the corners
of wool blankets together
so no more wind
no more
can get in
and in the center of thin tents
on stony ground
an open flap
frames two kissing,
their static  
the only electricity
left to touch
Their faces together they scale
the sheer tips of each stone's pointed
edge on hips
on knees on necks on feet on
each footprint
and fragment of dreams
they try together to  trap
And as the bundles are gathered,
backs unbent,
 we warn,
don't risk your hope
under wires, jackboots, guns,
you will lose what you have
but the hum grows,
and the barbed wire, tangled,
catches the sun
The guards shift
from foot to booted foot,
their weapon hands tighten
and maybe one young man
in the forward push
hears the crack,
sees the tear gas bloom
and the children,
eyes stinging,
are anointed
Spent shells
in a row like sculpture,
a line of  stenographic words
in a tongue we cannot hear
We wake up in a time zone far away,
We send doctors and boxes and trucks
Some of us go to help because
it is not something we can't
It can't we can't it can't be
but all we can do is pass out
shirts and oranges
while others try to protect
the commonplace
the carriers of the inconceivable
cannot come here
And I picture a Syrian girl's dark curls,
small wrists reaching
from her unraveling sweater
to hold her father's hand
and in his eyes-
I would use words like
steadfast, grateful, frustrated, strong,
though his eyes are tight against those scenes
he wants to wash from his daughter's eyes
But what do I know of him,
what do I know
Joanne Pilgrim
Joanne Pilgrim is a journalist and fiction editor at the East Hampton Star. Her works have appeared in the New York Observer, Women Across Frontiers magazine, and the Florida English Journal.

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