The Arab Crosses into Los Estados Unidos

Once I bathed in new phrases,
spoke with the starthroat.

Silked in sentences, curled
inside the parentheses

of dream. Once my father bent
a dime between his index

and his thumb, snapped a house
from air, swallowed gold fire

captured in singing glass. Glass
sang from his circling touch.

But when they came for him,
he danced to their orchestra

of bullets.

                          We did not wait
to tuck him safely

into earth, raise his name
in stone.

we buried we buried

beneath our ribs.

                           At the border

of the country


                           the future—

I own nevers,


                     with no receiver.
I carry him

                                            and cross the river.

From Fugitive/Refuge by Philip Metres. Copyright © 2024 by Philip Metres. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC, on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.