Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

Assimilation; Naturalization

Assimilation; Naturalization
Photograph via Flickr by Martin Snicer Photography

As immigrant stars bundle into constellations for warmth, security.

As the cargo hold of a great ship wails & in one voice prays toward another country.

Interned by hope, how a body burns brighter when it has something to hold fast to.

Horizon // fresh flag //just a single memory of your daughter before the pinning
& breaking in, laughs passing between soldiers like cigarettes or ripe dates.

If it’s true we’re all cross-examined by the same light, why are my son & daughter
sleeping uninjured beneath white waves of cotton & candle? The moon above

The least lit star enough to guide us home. As we’re not learning
the language of the world so much as giving it familiar names.

A vowel here. A mother’s god there. Accent dropped. Innocence repaired
for yet another round of restless men.


The slice & sting from tracing too quickly paper-
edged night is a red herring. It will heal; we know

some wounds close on their own. Still we try on
each passing pain for size. We star up each road
sign with buckshot & wait for the town to replace it.

We drop matches instead of bread crumbs; sometimes
we find our way out of the burning woods. Let’s say
one can swallow another’s ghosts; for argument’s sake,

we can walk this country safely in another’s shoes.
When that tender lip of blood seeps through page
after page, writing its obvious poetries, some of us

rejoice. This must be the sorrowful song filling
their mouths, that we say we can sing as deeply.