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Millicent Borges Accardi: a poem

After all, they are ridiculous

A weigh-station, a border control office

without guards. They slink in

with gnawing and noises

deep in the floor wood.

Not hunting for food, they rush through

on their own time-tables.

A family or a solo one, it is hard to tell

when the noises shuffle through

the hours of our time

confined to the near air of our home,

away from the broadness of the weather,

a few feet from the closed back door.

We are anxious and glazed-over,

famished for human touch and bewildered

by the new shake of smoke outside,

the helicopters overhead circling

the canyon in search of fire. We hear sleep

and fear the time that we are learning to endure

with growing complacency. The logistics of making do

with an earnest belief in living, still. They arrive

at 5 pm or with the orange rise of scheduled dawn.

As we are sitting up in bed, surrounded by

folded pillows, they crinkle paper below

the box spring and charge ahead for

where the doorways meet the

wall on the other side. We throw bottles

to the floor and swear at each other

that this is not right. But it is endurable,

and then we are charmed, and sit back,

feeling closely akin and locked into the

nearly god-loving sense of their wandering,

of being busy and wanting to feel comforted,

even if just for a fleeting moment; the desire

to belong temporarily even somewhere.

Millicent Borges Accardi, a Portuguese-American writer, is the author of two poetry books, most recently Only More So (Salmon Poetry). Her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Fulbright, CantoMundo, Creative Capacity, the California Arts Council, The Corporation of Yaddo, Fundação Luso-Americana, and Barbara Deming Foundation.

She’s led poetry workshops at Keystone College, Nimrod Writers Conference, The Muse in Norfolk, Virginia, and University of Texas, Austin. Her non-fiction can be found in The Writers Chronicle, Poets Quarterly, and the Portuguese American Journal.


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