Things we leave behind

 

I.

 

It’s in my blood

Unwrap my skin

You will see it there

 

Once a blank paper

Evolved to become

A wandering bird

Consciously folded and stitched together

By earlier moments

 

It started off with a name

Does it ever end there?

 

 

II.

 

Vlaardingen, 1965

 

Residential blackbird

embroidered on settled wallpapers

five fifty five

the antique clock sings

 

The smell of roasted buttery chicken rang

Like evening church bells

seeping into closed bedroom doors

 

Ten children dressed in

Over-the-knee skirts and buttoned down shirts

Gathered around the table

 

III.

 

A prayer announced

By a military man

named Husband and Father

 

He welcomed the rain

God did not create the Garden of Eden in a day

Have faith, he mumbled

 

Aging eyes closed

To bible-black nightmares

Of violent wars and bloody floors

 

Neatly folded handkerchief

a pillow for silent tears

resting in the pocket of his worn out Sunday shirt

 

After a while, nothing was spoken

 

 

IV.

 

Weary rosefinch

flushed cheeks and bright blue eyes

What damage has been done?

 

Creased veins

Red threads blend with your aging skin

Time has used you well

 

Eyes perched

On floral fabrics glued to the living room wall

Gazing as children grow to become

Mothers and fathers

A trace of the same blood

 

Where is your name?

 

We lay you to rest

Folding hands

Holding on to the image of military man

 

After a while, you turned into letters

 

 

 

 

V.

 

Dear Henriette,

 

History is before us

Can we hold the world by the throat

and unbury our eyes?

We will return to the sea,

 

Love, Robert

 

 

VI.

 

Schiphol 1999

 

Five suitcases packed with closets and libraries

bound to unfamiliar territories and towering mountains

running from long skirts and buttoned shirts

from Christian hymns and squeaky church bells

 

Mothers and fathers left behind

the consequence of an unconventional state of mind

looking for a place for life to happen

 

Departed belongings

Arrive in blankets of polluted heat

The sound of taxis honking, begging for a lift

 

Our sun-screened skin exposed

Awaiting new layers of salted Mediterranean tales

 

I remember the first time

Bonfires and pine trees

Nestled in distant memories

 

 

VII.

 

 

 

On the Way to Syria

 

The bomb that dropped nearby was just a warning, no one got hurt.

The smell of the bus exhaust ruins the smell

of my freshly washed hair

 

My father helps the group of men put up the red white and blue flag

so they would know not to drop that burning ball

on our European passports

 

The twirls of smoke in between the business towers

dance like tornadoes in the wind

and signal the roar of the bus motor

 

I do not realize right then that a woman from CNN caught me on camera

 

My grandparents would see this a few days later,

sitting in their living room drinking a cup of tea.

 

 

 

VIII.

 

Many stories intertwine to form new

Pages to unfolding truths

 

My skin matches my blood

Yet my mind speaks of other places

Anchored by the olive boulevard

 

I found you here

Puzzle pieces formed

Tokens for future encounters 

 

Crevassing skin

Trembling hands

What stories will be told

by ones who will carry my blood?

anna.pelgrim@gmail.com  |  06-25288439
Den Haag, The Netherlands

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