Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
Our town invites in three thousand refugees.
We used to count ourselves in, our town
of nine hundred fifty three. We’ll have to
rent extra seats for them to raise their hands
at town meeting. Roll out blankets
to kneel and pray on.
Some of us are more fearful than afraid
of pocket bread, lilac-colored head scarfs,
smoked lamb’s tongue. Some of us speak
two languages in our sleep, field and sea.
Where they’re from they rarely vote
by closing they eyes, laying their heads
down on a school desk, raising their hands.
Or, as we do sometimes here,
when we’re concerned what our next door
neighbor will think, we write
an x for yes on a piece of paper,
y for no or leave it blank
as an unplanted field. When we’re asked
to vote on whom and how many new citizens
we can take in. Remembering an empty manger,
a boat teeming with fish, that first nurse
who welcomed each of us into this swaddling
world. Before we knew how to pray we’d be
wanted here. Sitting or kneeling or not at all.
A skull cap under a baseball hat. A blessed
silk scarf to give away. Or wear on a cold day
in March. The parking lot overflowing
at our polling place. The folding tables covered
with apple pancakes and kabobs.
Copyright 2017 Gary Margolis
Syrian refugees arriving in New England.