Poem of the week: László Kovács and His Sons Cross the Border

A poem by Ron Carey

Ron Carey

Ron Carey

 

The Russian border guards are slow to leave
Their bewildered prisoners. But for a song
They sell their watches, helmets, all the gear
That turns a man into a soldier and back into
A man. When, finally, they leave, they take
Everything not nailed down; ripping the light
From the walls, the wires, the ceramic toilets,
All the forensic evidence of their existence.
Days later, László takes his two blonde sons
Out of their grey school. Outside, he tries
To shake them free but the grey is inclined
To hold on. With some garish manipulation
Of his hands, he produces two white flowers
And locates them under the boys’ jumpers,
Under their shirts, up against their hearts.
He places the boys in the small metal egg
Of his car and drives to the border post
With Austria, where he crosses and crosses
And crosses again, testing their future.

Ron Carey’s first collection, Distance, was nominated for the Forward Prize Best First Collection. His second collection is Racing Down the Sun (Revival Press)