You amble up the path to swipe paving stones,
pried up puzzle pieces piled behind bins,
load the bricks onto a cart side-by-side
with a young woman who grows rubber trees,
and dreams of birds nests’ towers in a distant land.
A hat hovers over her hardened face,
a beauty crinkled by a jealous sun.
You close your eyes to palm trees, smell the lush green.
The day’s heat shimmers and stalks. There, a flash:
Glorious cornfield carpets. Endless gold
dotted by gray barns that worshipped cerulean skies
pearly clouds streaming the presence of a god
you abandoned the further you moved from home.
You call to your child scaling piles of rubble,
heaps of concrete, wood and overgrown weeds,
remind him stones are heavy, snakes lurk beneath trash.
Please, ride the cart carefully. He jumps off,
bounds ahead, fast-fast to the only home
he understands, this village you made his world
knowing all the while he will someday leave
in search of home and country, a land to belong to
in quest to discover all that you knew
and left behind—a nation, a place,
a pencil mark, a time long gone,
a dream existing only in the memory of why.