Sunday, September 5, 2010

New York, 1910

The view from this old Dutch port
is not the postcard I will send to my mother
or the glossy photo from my 8th grade history textbook.

The warm New York sun reflects off the bay
and a light fog leaves only a dark silhoutte before me.

It is a woman, arm raised, looking
out on the open waters.

I imagine that without telephoto lens of perscription eyewear
this is what she must have looked like to my great-grandparents
as they rocked like driftwood towards her narrow feet.

Some hovering giantess with glowing torch,
her stern face unreadable.

My great-grandparents standing in many layers,
their silver and good jewelry tucked in waistbands.

This shadowy shape must have been the
first thing they remembered,
their knuckles white around heavy black luggage handles,

coughing up yesses,
thank you's, and pleases
from dry Polish throats.

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