The Refugee

At the northern border wait the sitting rooms,

bowls of candy, and the hooks, the knives.

Light holds you

for the interrogation. Why

you've come? Your name

and work?

Afterwords you're encouraged

to visit the temple,

see the altar, and take

a few photographs.

Nests lie in the eaves above.

A mother bird cries in what must be

a ritual in these parts

as if she tires of waking

to the smell of burning sticks.

You kneel

but only to get a better angle

on her speckled beak.

Meanwhile behind you

arrives another black van.

Meanwhile the sky

hurries soundlessly into exile.