Saturday, August 28, 2004

Iphigenia at Lunch-time
I'm exiled in a country
between two great waters
where tornados churn houses
into oversized toothpicks, in a mall
where there use to grow corn.

Lunch-time I serve french fries,
wear a uniform that lets me
nod yes or no
without needing much else, but sometimes,
I disappear into my own language,

and thinking this way,
no one would know how my questions
prey upon my mind until they become gelatin,
my father and mother still in the old country,
whose shores I may not cross.

Achilles, my husband in make-believe,
I wanted you to grab the knife
from my father's hand and stop him
from etching my throat in sacrifice.
I had hoped you'd divine

what I could not ask -- to defy a nation
gathered on the beach for history's recital.
So what became of our bravery?
You killed in battle, and I,
pouring black oil upon the altar of a memory.

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