After Migration

Poetry

Poetry by Erika Goodrich

There are parts of you left behind, / buried in the sands of Cefalù. / You are told to travel light. To forget.

After Migration

What you remember isn’t the clatter
of sterling spoons, or the shatter of bone
china, but your hand undone.
Like a child who can’t find her way

home. Your tracks concealed in snow.
A stilled tongue. Winter
’s worn hands around your warm throat—
This is how you learn a country without

words & orphan your native
tongue. Your closed mouth a cloister,
a cedar chest without the key.
There are parts of you left behind,

buried in the sands of Cefalù.
You are told to travel light. To forget. Yet,
you live in your hands. The way they move
through wet dough. Dirt. Documents

signed with a name your mouth can’t pronounce.
Someday your grandchildren will look for you
in the sliver of moon-silver in your hair,
in the blue cloth of your chair. But, you won’t speak

the same language. You will never learn
to forget what to forget: faces of ghosts,
your shadow—pinned like a map
to your skin.

 

Erika Goodrich is a graduate student at the University of South Florida. She was second runner-up for the 2017 Spoon River Poetry Contest and a participant of Bread Loaf 2018. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in CALYX Journal, The Pinch Journal, The Boiler Journal, The Waccamaw Journal, among others. She holds a BA in Creative Writing & Literature from William Paterson University and an MLS from The University of Buffalo.

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