Donna J. Gelagotis Lee
Choice of a Country
I am flying to another country.
I have left my own, but it stays within me.
The thought plays with me that I could remain.
But remaining isn’t the same.
What white structures pour blue into a sea
as you tour the island’s visage and taste
salt and thyme as mistakes pile up like fishes
on a dock weighed for dishes foreign to the tongue?
It’s not too far flung that day is a wish to be unwound,
that night is a scent to be aligned with the moon’s stare
as you go into an alleyway of cobblestone timed
to your footsteps and a bird’s chimed dive.
The sea at the end of the street wavers
on a slice of light while you give up searching.
The road is like a rope tied to the docks
of two countries. What must it be like to rock
in that water, buoyed like a fishing boat caught
in a stream of light? What must it be like that you
ought to know there are no gift fishes anywhere?
Everyone owns a birthright; that land cannot be
compared. So choice is deciphering one from
another, as if happiness could be something
found, as if place were a cliff with wings because
you saw it in a photograph and dreamed it was.