Today's poem is by Seth Michelson

Cosmopolitical Fugue

Syrian immigrants smash on the rocks
off Lesbos where Sappho sang Don't shatter
my heart with fierce pain
, the line
looping in my head as I wake from eye surgery:
the soft white of my right globe
sliced open, leaking: the recovery room
blurred red as I struggle to resurface
from dark waters, listening to radio news:
a Mexican immigrant is speaking Spanish
from an apple orchard in Pennsylvania:
a mi me gusta la vida, hustle to pick: ten
hours per day, six days a week, don't even stop
to pee, es mi vida, O glossy fruit,
harvest of dreams; take a break, dear reader,
to lift an apple skyward till it gleams:
juicy ruby, snug and certain
in the world of your grip, what was once
the picker's now yours: sweetness
torn into being, stacked and sold
by farmers in flannel shirts, muddy boots,
who flip basketfuls onto roadside tables,
apples spilling out like immigrants
from dinghies flipped by rough surf,
eyes stung by spindrift, two bodies
already swallowed by tl1e salty roil,
the rest slapping at its icy surface
in smashed hope as tl1ey cry out:
tl1e pain of shattered migration,
hope a splintered dinghy,
and the Mexican immigrant just now saying
lo que te llevas contigo
es solamente lo necesario
his voice so clear I see him here:
picking apples from my N stand
and tossing each burning orb
to a wicker basket across the room: fruit
slashing through the space between us,
red trails of celestial vapor,
red as the surgeon's first cut, our vision
flooded with seeing,
so pick an apple, famished reader,
and crush it between your teeth: its juice
our prayer filling your mouth,
an invitation to hope.

Copyright © 2017 Seth Michelson All rights reserved
from Swimming Through Fire
Press 53
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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