Promise

Paul does not look to where he came from.
It has disappeared into the past.
The past is but a memory.
And memories change with each visitation.

He watches the news at night
only to have his brain cavity fill with blood
and the lines of victims queued
to tell their survivor stories.

Paul sees pupils sitting in a classroom.
They are present to improve their English—
to initiate the English language on their tongues
and struggle with unfamiliar syllables.

All those many old languages fall into the past
except at home with old country parents
who refuse to change though they initiated the change
approaching the promise of a flag and voice in government.

Paul sees on their skin the violence of the old country.
Scars that report blood once spilled into familial eyes.
Hands that must unlearn a culture departed.
Customs that change slightly with each visitation.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

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