American
She knows her father has gone without food,
that her mother endured the unspeakable.
Her brother, older remembers and  
the neighbor’s husband is dead.

And yet,
she is unscathed.

Everywhere the world offers its sorrow
like a glass of water.

A man her father’s age asks her for food,
another for money.  Girls with her  
mother’s green, frightened eyes  
hurry past on the wet street, as if
they will miss their trains.   
If not these, then others.

The water comes too as tears, sleet,  
gloss over the bodies who run.
To the rivers, to the canals.  She begins  
to read the sea as accumulation.

In an effort to dream, she sees films  
at the neighborhood theater, only
to find she has not escaped them.  
Cambodians, Mexicans, Gypsies,   
Poles...boarding ships, building junks,  
swimming channels and streams, some
drowning near shore, some at sea.  

There is little special about her.
Like many she retains a sense  
of thirst in the presence of that water,  
unlike some who have lived  
and have had enough.
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