the healing muse

Volume 10, 2010

Operation Pedro Pan, 1961

Monica Burchfield

They all carry something.
The girl seated next to him
has a holy card with Christ pointing
to a gash in His heart, redder than a mango.
His mother has given him a loaf of bread
with the imprint of a palm frond
baked into the crust, like a fossil.

From the airplane's window, he finds her
sealed to the glass pane of the terminal—
her mouth opening and closing.
He remembers yesterday, catching
the silver minnow in his hands, its body
all shuddering muscle, and his mother—
swimming past the waves and the buoys,
sunbathers shouting she'd gone too far.

In America, he'll have roller skates
and a pond where his breadcrumbs
bring fish up from deep water,
fish singed orange like the sweet potatoes
he'll eat. And his letters will be plentiful,
rolled inside Coca-Cola bottles,
an armada of green glass
pushed to her across the ocean.


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