Friday, March 10, 2017

New World

New World

A ship arrives in the middle of a downtown city
intersection. Although there is no port, people
depart the wooden ship with sundry belongings
stuffed into suitcases, saying “So this is the New
World. Who knew it would take this long to arrive?” 
Men and women walk past them on sidewalks,
staring into phones, cursing a lack of cell signals.
The newly disembarked hold hands, begin to sing
a hymn forbidden in the land of their ancestry.
All around them, skyscrapers reflect clouds, loom
above the assembled crowd. At once, a policeman
tells them to move along, or he will ticket them
for an unlawful assembly. Where are your permits?
Children hide in the long skirts of young mothers
caressing their hair. Was this the land they left
the old country to find? Their leaders urge caution. 
Maybe they should reboard the ship for the night?
Yet the captain has pulled up the gangplank. The ship
is sailing away without them! Evening draws its veil
as a kettle of people tightens around the newcomers.
They begin to chant. Assimilate! Assimilate!

By Chris Banks  

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