Roselle Park

by Hilary Scheppers

“You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky.
How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?” - Luke 12:56

It is early August and I am in New Jersey,
in this backyard, too green,
where my friend reads
a buzz poem called “Follow Him”

off a screen -- that has never seen her father’s hands
flip poultry on the grill, or the way her
mother prepares the black bean and corn salsa,
that has only seen the commuter wearing earbuds
that cancel out the bum mumbling “God bless you”—

How do you hold a poem that has no body
and suffers no consequence of time?

And 5700 miles from Syria, 40 miles from New York,
how do I, leaning back, belly full of barbecued
chicken, mozzarella and tomato, I who will
eat again tomorrow, have a voice here —unable
to decipher what is my war and what is someone else’s war,
when every injustice is a click away—

I am not in Syria. I am not in Venezuela.
I am in New Jersey, where the birds
in the oak tree beyond our table
trill up an avian surge:

Do they know where they are going?
Do they know
they aren't there yet?

Where is my flock and where am I going?
Who am I hiding from and who am I calling out to?

Caitlyn Garcia