We trekked for hours.
Why we were going no one said.
The sun left us dazed,
and the moon: a rink of ice.
We bore impedimenta like Christs.
We lugged our shadows.
No voice found shelter with us.
Carrying our homes on our
backs, we had no earth
in which our music might flourish.
(We had a handful, as keepsake.)
No man or woman wept.
Where we were going no one knew.
We wore fluted rags. The children
wore nothing. The boys
were ashamed of their bodies.
The girls also were ashamed of the boys’
bodies. They moved like stone.
How I longed for the dear child
who would not leave
the land of our buried son and daughter,
the land of dreams.
I cannot shake loose her last face,
full of images of the lost.
It is ages since.
I think of her no more.
I do not dwell on the children,
except as I grow white
I begin to hear their dreaming
and my own.