The Polish Border

Your baby
looks like our baby bundled into her pink snowsuit.
Yours is zipped into a snowsuit with flowers.
You hold her up to the Red Cross worker.
The international photographer
snaps her picture.

Both babies are wrapped in the latest puffer down,
but yours is hurried onto a train.
Last night, yours was serenaded by a shivering violinist
in the basement of a parking garage.

Our baby snapped into her car seat,
is driven to her doctor visit.
She’ll go for a stroll in the park.
She’ll fly on the swings.

Do you have enough bottles on the train?
Does your baby grab the jar of mashed carrots,
spill them on your neighbor?
Will she sleep in your arms?

My dentist says I grind my teeth,
chew my cheeks. In my dreams,
your baby seems to be mine.
She’s not. We eat our pasta
drink our wine. For our baby, life
is just fine.

About the Poem

Our screens have been filled over the past month with images of families with children leaving Ukraine at the Polish border. The babies look so similar to my granddaughter, but there is nothing similar about the displacement and trauma the Ukrainian families are experiencing. These are just a few of the numerous print and video news stories over the past month that led to this poem: https://www.warchildholland.org/news/supporting-ukranian-refugee-children/

https://www.savethechildren.net/news/ukraine-5-ways-talk-children-about-conflict-0

About the Author

Lao Rubert is a poet and advocate for justice reform living in Durham, North Carolina. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Adanna, Atlanta Review, Barzakh, Collateral, Mer Vox, New Verse News, Poetry East, Snapdragon, and others.

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