HARBOR OF GRACE

(Havre de Grace, Maryland)


Green saucer hills
swirl down to sheen
where the river scallops
the Bay.  Lines of masts,
white gulls, Canada geese fence
the scene.  Beyond those fence lines
mansions built on slave-cut sotweed
picket flat fields in westering light.


That other Havre
long since shed its Grace in waves
of desperate families fleeing swords
and murderous faiths.
Yet this retains the sobriquet.
From Huguenots to Syrians
the tides of refuge washed up here,
a bandbox town that simulated home.


Still migrants all
like those who came before
we reach with mute relief
this problematic shore.



Version first published in What Rough Beast July 23, 2019