Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize 2017 Finalist
When you enter (Ki tavo)
you see them, living in tents,
their lifetimes’ wages vanished
in a flash of fire. They haul water
from the leaden, asbestos rivers to wash garments,
bathe children and wounds, boil for rice.
Perhaps until now you did not understand chance,
its delicate character. You studied Victorian novels and acne,
holding a mirror to your back.
Decades tumble inward with all their plans and furnishings
you want to say to your young self,
that girl wrapped in reflected light.
Instead, you pass without her noticing
into the displacement camps, into heat-blasted rubble,
into contingencies as they are really lived,
the weight of promise the yoke
that sets you free.