Boundaries

Paul Jaskunas

(Maryland)


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The soldiers dig new boundaries around us.
We crouch in our basement, clutching at candles.
Our whispered prayers make the flames dance.

In morning rubble, searching for children,
we find lost letters sent from nations
no longer on maps. Debris in our hair,

we limp to the road. In the town
square, a new mayor pontificates to crowds
in a tongue that grates at our ears.

Beside a memorial to the last war’s dead,
a bear from the circus sniffs at the sky,
stunned and oblivious, like us un-homed.

The clowns and gymnasts could well be dead.
So too the animal trainer. And what
of the lions? Do they wander hungry?

The bear follows, mewing for food we do not have.
We walk with wounds that ooze and drip.
In this way we trace the true boundaries

of our new homeland.

Paul Jaskunas

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.

Paul Jaskunas is the author of the novel Hidden (Free Press), which won the Friends of American Writers Award and of two books forthcoming next year: The Atlas of Remedies (fiction, Stillhouse Press) and The News from Norway (poetry, Finishing Line Press). He is on the faculty at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he edits Full Bleed, an annual journal of art and literature.

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