Creative Space

World Refugee Day 2020

Your refugee heart
waits, displaced heart
squeezed into a suitcase,
hides under the mattress.

Your exiled hands fold,
anticipate the moment
of escape, salvation to show up
down the road. Your foreign
feet take you in that direction,
carry away your refugee heart,
your exiled hands, your immigrant
eyes looking for anything familiar
on the way to the new place.
The fields you walk, ruined.

Your wanderer’s legs,
your castaway chest. It’s quiet
enough to hear your breath,
your footsteps, the red
cacophony of confusion and fear.

Now the smack and smash of hate
approaching. The smell of dirt.
Your desperate mouth forming
no. Your scramble to safety.
The abandoned shack.
Your arms hanging like broken
hands in a broken clock.

Your lips, your lips, waiting
for words to come.
The chambered love
in your refugee heart
holds its beats, a conductor
waiting for time to begin again.


Poor refugee heart
surrounded by thorns,
forgets how to love.

Contortionist heart
tries to find its way
out of the rhetoric
of hate, dodge
the hurtling word-bullets,
the grey war machines.

Pacifist heart, how did
you get in range
of these weapons,
this mass destruction?

Cracked heart, backlit,
fleeing, borders shut,
no man’s land.

Somewhere a place,
somewhere a bed,
a meal. Hungry heart.

Refuge near an ocean,
open sky. Refugee heart
in red, second hand
still sweeping.

Phyllis Klein in the Full Moon Herald, Grayson Books 2020