Preparing for the journey of return


For Catalin

Do you remember the house, I asked my brother,
He was six and a half when we had left.

The grape vine trellis, he said, leading to the garage,
The right turn on the path toward the front door, the porch.

Are you afraid of what we’ll see when we get there,
I asked my sister, and she said, yes, of the unknown

Because we’re going where we haven’t gone before:
Inside our father’s prisons, we’ll see what no child should see.

Mother, I asked, since we left together we fought
Illness and separation, loneliness and fears,

And we have embraced new languages,
Starting from nothing in the middle of our lives.

Do you think this journey back will take us full circle,
Will we find our old selves in our old house, do you

Sense our roots pulling us back to the village soil?
It will be good to say good-day in our language, she said,

I miss the people and old streets, but home is now here;
Today I cleared the yard and burned the leaves.

I asked my father, what about you, what will we find in prisons?
Suffering bathed in blood he said. And at home suffering bathed in tears.

And so we start from two continents, suitcases made and locked
Me with the maps of failure and dreams, rescued from police archives.

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