THE REFUGEEby Leonore Hildebrandt
The refugee’s face is ashen,
turned one last time toward home.
The bed you slept in. The apricot tree.
My people once invaded your country––
World War II––your wheat fields
turned to mud––my father kept silent about it.
He bore his wounds. War is a disorder
caught between tremors and rigidity.
Shattered windows, blackened houses.
Your hands tremble when you hear
the invaders speak––intercepted messages,
spasms that emanate from your town as well.
At night the palpitations travel underground
like body waves. Emerging from smoke,
from hate and rubble––may we find one another.
May we rebuild our countries as one refuge.
May your hands be calm again.
* * * * *
Leonore Hildebrandt is the author of the poetry collections Where You Happen to Be, The Work at Hand, and The Next Unknown. Her poems and translations have appeared in the Cimarron Review, Harpur Palate, Poetry Daily, RHINO, and the Sugar House Review, among other journals. Wordrunner eChapbooks published two of her poems in its 2017 Pushing Boundaries anthology. She was nominated several times for a Pushcart Prize. A native of Germany, Leonore lives “off the grid” in Harrington, Maine, and spends the winter in Silver City, New Mexico. LeonoreHildebrandt.com