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January 2017, vol 12 no 4

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Adelaide B. Shaw


Familiar songs from a land not mine, yet linked by genes. Stories told. A time imagined.

But for chance, I would have been a peasant like she was, living in scraggy hills, milking a goat, running over rocks in bare feet, so calloused they never bleed. There would be hungry days and starry nights with the wind for a companion. There would be fear and want and fleeting dreams waiting for my father to return.

After the letter arrives there would be a bumpy ride in a patched-up cart to the train. With many a look back I would watch the dry, dusty land change into a crowded town with the smell of the sea where a ship waits in the harbor, belching smoke from its black stacks.

I would travel in the stink of the ship’s lowest depths with days of anxiety, heat and cold, hunger and sleepless nights, to reach another shore where life would begin again.

a soft spring day
the family comes together
for a funeral