entrances and exits

if a person is a continent
their borders delineated on a map so that
one can traverse a boundary and
find oneself in
some strange country, a
traveller, the tongue foreign
the food and customs strange
excited feet drawing the traveller inward
enticing them to explore
to learn
to grow

if a person is a continent,
my love, you were immense
your borders manned by
soldiers, their eyes hard,
their judgment final

i found my way in on a short term visa
and stayed long after it expired
wandering labyrinthine streets
i made a home in the artists corridor
it was small, but warm

i strove to make a life
within your borders

i tried to love the people,
with their hungry eyes and hearts
i even joined the protests
cursing daily the despot who
set such cruelties on them at so young an age
who placed the watchers on the walls
brought attack dogs from
far afield and,
when they were starved
and neglected
released them
without mercy
on the innocent

i visited your museums,
empty as they were,
the war had cost you so much
i tried, during my stay,
to fill them, to make up the difference
instructing the curators
from my own country
to lend you all they could
but the halls were vast
and even my curators
could only do so much
with our limited means

every day i set out
feet carrying me along
streets without names
no map could help me sort
the nature of the cities

try as i might
i could not find the center
nor a post box, to register my concerns
and eventually, i fell in
with the other citizenry
in their grey drudgery
dragging my feet
through days
and weeks
and seasons
my protests growing weaker
my determination subsiding
with my strength

i left by a different route than i had
entered, picking my way through the barbed wire
along a stretch of unmanned wall

reluctant, i watched
your soldiers patch it
from afar

clutching momentos
to my chest
thumb on the stamp
left in my passport
years ago
no exit marked
and entrance no longer possible

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16 thoughts on “entrances and exits

  1. This is so rich…and what’s so great is that as I read, I was able to both lose myself in the world of your metaphor and also keep in mind that it was a metaphor. (Hope that makes sense!) Having lived for a short while in Europe–having left my daughter there and hearing all about her visa struggles–brought this even closer to home. I can’t really choose my favorite lines, but this is what you did:
    “drawing the traveller inward” and I did love those hard-eyed soldiers and how they patched the wire…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so beautiful. And you molded the metaphor into exactly what it needed to be. I was lost (in a good way) between the words. I knew that it was a metaphor from the very beginning, got wrapped into the story in the middle, and remembered, again, at the end that it was a metaphor.

    So clever.

    Liked by 1 person

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