by Roxana Cazan
This is how sour starts,
when you string life jacket to life
jacket, colorful and torn like paper lanterns,
reel them around the Greco-Roman columns
at the Minneapolis Institute of Art like spun sugar,
to say that home doesn’t let you stay,
and that at home, you fear seeing the sun
because missiles always strike on days
with clear skies, and this is how floating starts.
In Oklahoma City, your father and I bought you
a life jacket, even though you are only
a few months old and not a refugee like
your parents. You don’t know water yet,
except for the safety of womb and sleep,
you don’t know too much sun
or skin burn or heart ache,
and we celebrate your wriggling and twisting,
because they affirm all that journey
to getting to you was worth it and worthy
of an art exhibit.
About the poet
Roxana L. Cazan’s poems have most recently been featured in Connecticut River Review, Construction Magazine, Cold Creek Review, Hektoen International, Watershed Review, The Peeking Cat Anthology, The Portland Review, The Woody Guthrie Anthology (Village Book Press 2019), and others. A Romanian immigrant to the US, Roxana is the author of a poetry book entitled The Accident of Birth (Main Street Rag in 2017) and the co-editor of Voices on the Move: Writing by and about Refugees (Solis Press, 2020). She lives in Oklahoma City, where she is working on a manuscript that explores the challenges of motherhood and of raising a multi-ethnic, multi-racial child in a world profoundly troubled by race relations.
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