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Mónica Gomery

Dear Nation,
What anchors, what milk, what murmur of mine?




Dear Immigrant,
Shouldered loyalties, what offered up for entry. Shout
softly from safe rooftops.

Claim skin, claim map, claim mobile.

Sonnet II.


I dream.

Bordered edges, green demarcations,

dotted blots on map to mark construction.

Upright of slag cement.

The need to tongue and teeth a map:

Romania      Slovakia      Hungary      Italy

Venezuela      United States

Israel      Palestine

Say and repeat. Bare tangled recognition.

Sovereign becomes an olive pit, bitter flesh and oils.

Turn the name over on the tongue. A nation becomes a mouth.

Dust swills up around the jaw-line, the cut-bone barriers.

Mandible to masticate, the chew-drum:

sovereignty, supremacy. A tooth-lined artillery.

my father’s father       gave a warning thumbed

      a caution       that history repeats itself       that falling happens

in patterned sequence       the body       a people

thuds        and thuds again



“didn’t want to be those Jews”



I said       sometimes      the body        the cycle

is transferred       another       body

she says “see the Arab scarf”       clicks her tongue


                what steady
                claim survival
                regime to claim ownership
                what anchors


this barbed spine of dragon wire       we are connected by

razor thorn
to shoot at signs of motion- wind, armadillo, child

                two slabstones, moat of liquid heat between
                cameras, sensors, robot drones
                sound of trucks rolling over sand

imaginings of what lies on the other side

Dear Nation,
Wall built into the water. Some kind of muddled Moses. The sea will not
                                                                                                         split for this.

concrete partition looming,
the captive heart beating a claustrophobe's rattle
it reaches for the sea

Dear Nation,
      I ascribe not to you but to the between-you. Is this the leap from second to
third— a generation toes the line.

scowl of       socialism       her mouth the inescapable

articles, items, artifacts grandmother her mapping

“See the wool gloves your aunt wears in this one? Those you can only find
in Romania, near the hills, it gets very cold in the winter.”

               thick scarf snakes neckline       a winter city
               wheeled cart to market from third-floor apartment
               oranges, dates, bags of flour, sugar

“Your grandfather traveled, selling shoes all over Europe. He always
remembered to bring a treat for the girls”

               lollipops from Bucharest, paper butterflies from Berlin
               dangled edge of lace

She runs trembling fingers over the photographs to remember
as though teakettles and stockings could be felt through the grains.

She likes department stores best;
watery gleam, overhead fluorescents, sleek counter-tops.
Walks aisles arm-in-arm with her daughter:

               “Now this is a good seam, how it rolls down the side of the skirt.”
               “These high-tech alarm clocks fall apart too soon.”

Stacked, by color, dozens lining the aisle. Days would measure out in yards
of cloth, bright bolts lining the fabric store. Tailor her daughters, blouses
her daughters, mother a girl at her hip. Arms extended, grazing fingers over
each roll of fabric. Kaleidoscopic modern-day department store: coat
hangers, scented candles, plastic picture frames glinting beside boxed

I dream of envelopes breaking apart into hundreds of paper cranes. Some fall to the
sea, float listless on the surface of the water until they dissolve.

Dear Immigrant,
Claim clung, waxed hand, once gripped cannot
unclaw undone unheld.

What your children will never know of mortar.


In the dream there are mismatched scrambling, boxes escaping coming of cardboard cards flickering. Her jeering everywhere and wood, sifting pair. Positioning suitcases the objects made of beating wings. There is fast, and canvas, where time begins woven. First plastic of bags, strewn: feels patterned, rearranges. Scarves search in sealing insistence. Time balls where it zippers. She stacks another index. A pairs and blankets, of shoes. But she against her, all pulling. Does not know it from or around. Hands are only two, to tuck are boxes, the yarn. Books into bags and stacking three, then, a shoe. Then leather a bottle and mess of sweater, one by one. Removing suitcases, the yarn, of yarn, and objects two, she shoes, realizing her hands, silent. There are folds through objects. Away, arrange again. Clipping of buttons, flaps. Shut closes where it zippers.