Crossing Checkpoint Charlie with my in-laws, 1982


Westfolk immune

pass through like seraphs,

accordion wire unseen.


They do not smell Drancy’s

latrines, oiled gunmetal

fear on the Umplatz.


Invisible to them

dark bands in woods

the sucking  mud

of winter Polish forests


the drowned, grasping for visas

who rose from green cobbles

like nausea, when Vopos

stamping our passports


sniggered Just one real


and no voice

spoke from the whirlwind


and the burning bush

stayed silent.

First published in Watered Colors (2014)