“What caravan did the Thousand Oaks shooter [terrorist] come from?”
– Don Lemon (to Trump)
Recent news ended, Terrorists suspected.
Among the frenzied crowd cued
in Harvest Bakery’s lunch line,
a mother’s quietude commands.
Her shoulder-length brown hair frames a smooth ivory-skinned face;
her brown silk raincoat nearly camouflages
her severed left arm carried
invisible like the dead –
like the seen-unseen homeless?
Like the increasing refugees who,
after journalists air their plights, disappear fractured
by the next featured frame?
Faces press upon clay memory –
embed the snapdragon-black eyes
like those of this mother’s adopted
Ethiopian daughter who peers
from behind the silk rain of her mother’s coat – peers
from her perfectly proportioned Nefertiti face.
Peers have taunted her – have demonized
her alleged illegitimacy, yet her mother’s got sand –
Huck Finn’s words spoken
of Mary Jane, kind to all strangers
(kind to all of us new in every moment.)
She has let go.
With invisible arm she marries the dead,
the disenfranchised, the migrants,
the unseen witness. Never choosing between keeping neighbors
or adopting daughters, she says yes to her love-life.
Hugging that yes her child tugs the sleeve hiding
the map of woe bound for imperfect paradise.
by Ann Reed
Ann Reed is a contemplative scholar, poet, and Chinese calligrapher-brush painter. She has taught English Literature and Theory of Knowledge in Malaysia, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and China, where traditional cultures value literature as good medicine. Her postdoctoral research studies the mending arts of Early Modern English and Contemporary Poetry. Her Chinese calligraphy and brush paintings have been exhibited in Portland, Oregon and at the Shenzhen Fine Arts Museum in China. Her poems have been published in various literary journals, one of which won the Fall 2018 Lazuli Literary Group poetry prize.