—wire service photo, Hungarian border
Once again the migrants eat the road.
In the paper, a young couple, fit and hungry…
I study them like ancestors. They hug, wave
at the camera, having hung from a raft
then slogged the alien miles before
crossing a demarcation unknown
to the earth upon which it’s drawn—
an invisible stripe running on like a joke
that’s been told and re-told since the first
line was drawn in the dirt. The couple
swell up with their own resolve,
survivors of lice-laced coffee grounds,
puddled water, grasses in the center lane.
In the community of marriage
they’ve become the power of myth.
At the movies last night I sat next to my wife,
laughed at the sardonic jokes, the wise
American actress, her domestic comedy
asserting its complex of new ethics.
I knew we’d soon walk into the night,
order caramel gelatos, then go home
sloshed in the plush boat of all that cream.
And so, for a few mindless hours, we
entered the same domain the couple
would have entered in their own country
had the joke of history not demanded
a new version of the same moral—
Once inside, our very touch is the wall
beyond which we may choose not to see.