The Refugee

The Refugee long poem

Photo by Benimoto

Airliners fell fat like poisoned bumble bees
breasting their way into parking lots and highways
plowing up concrete furrows tipped
with shiny and jagged vehicles trimmed in flame

I wake in a light sweat to a fluxuating grumble
wondering at the noise coming from outisde the house
I dress then shake my daughter awake
pulling a portable breakfast together so we can walk

the ravine is damp and cool, the roadway muddy
despite a lack of rain which has lasted weeks
we have no conversation, satiated by the clink
of glass water bottles, we take the downward path slow

we found our spot when my daughter ran away
protesting the aging process, her role
in Middle School, the inability for the old stone
of her soul to find a gap or clique to settle into

my wife drove the streets drawing first a traffic cop
then a missing persons report then a helicoptor
much like the one that still drones in the background
though what it’s looking for neither do I know nor care

a wide crease of blue sky zig zags above us
and like my dream a gleaming jet bellies its way through the air
when I stop walking, my daughter looks concerned
then pulls me along as the plane continues on safely

I could tell her about the dream but couldn’t accurately
describe the anxiety that brings it to mind monthly
those brightly painted metal bodies dropping down
threatening to crush or burn me or both

I scan her forearms and think she’d understand
implicitly the fear that drives destructive thoughts
into the forefront of your brain, taking too many pills
or incising angry lines into your skin to watch the blood rise

my wife doesn’t think she’s really tried suicide that it’s
a gameful attempt at getting sympathy from girls at school
maybe she’s identified others who come from depressed homes
whose parents only talk of inconsequential things and rarely touch

we’ve been walking by Cowen Creek while it swells and broadens
when it switches from the north side of the path to the south
we’ve almost reached our spot – our shoes come off and the hop
into chilly water brings us finally awake into the day

there’s almost always glass in the sandy bottom at the start
no escaping casual urban vandalism and rage
at so many empty hours, so many voices yammering for attention
proclomations of importance woven with in consequential fluff

all leading to disaster if our toes aren’t careful taking each step
slow to give our full weight and only then luxuriating in the silky texture
in this way we move away from the path and with the creek
pushing past obscure bush-canes and pest plants to our spot

a broad pool, kind of perpetual eddy shallow and soft
mismatched trees surround and because of their shed leaves
I found my daughter just an hour before dark, knelt in the cold
her face almost touching the slow flow already cried out

there was nothing to say then and nothing to say now
we make our ways to our accustomed places careful not to disturb
the untranslatable writing the creek has left on the sandy bottom
stepping around the teardrops of tadpoles hiding in the shadows

we have our lunch, our books, paper, and pens and most of a day
to either talk or not, laugh or curse while airplanes boom
helicoptors buzz and while the occasional raccoon will come down
wash its paws, it’s certain no one else is looking for us

this hideout in the dappled sunlight is the saddest place I know
fragile in its vegetable form and in the way we humans visit
because a refuge is only a refuge if it can be used and remain safe
and every day we arrive is closer to the last time we’ll come together

she’s never been able to tell my why she ran or what hollow thing
within her makes empty all the good things she sees make her flee
all her possible friends and even when she smiles here it’s tilted inward
like a performance for some implacable critic I fear I’ll never meet

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GlenDodge

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a poet from Seattle Washington USA. His poetry has appeared in print in publications such as Bellowing Ark, Point Nopoint, and most recently in Contraposition magazine. When not writing poetry he is a Human Resources professional, a repentant glutton, and a novelist specializing in the weird-fiction genre.
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