Frayed Papers

Months after the funeral, she found
stacked in cardboard boxes
the yellowed immigration papers.
The facts uncurled with flowery script:

her father’s name, his father’s name, and
her father’s father’s and her father’s mother’s
and her father’s widowed sister’s and the orphans’
and the dated of the departure.

The sixth of January, a likely feast,
another Epiphany, unlikely.

The tickets have grown thin,
limp as a wet leaf, but dry,
tiny fragile slips of paper,
senseless, really, how such fragments
could portend so much—the dreams,
the new beginnings. Did they really
look out across the gray ocean
and believe the future more
than cardboard boxes?

Leo Luke Marcello
from his book Nothing Grows in One Place Forever: Poems of a Sicilian American
Time Being Books, 1998

used by permission of the poet’s estate

This poem was catalogued in Poems and written by Leo Mark Marcello. Bookmark the permalink.

About Leo Mark Marcello

Mr. Marcello is the author of four books poetry and 15 Days of Prayer with Saint Katharine Drexel and the editor of Everything Comes to Light: A Festschrift for Joy Scantlebury. He taught at Howard University, for the University of Maryland in Wales, and at McNeese State University, where he held both the first Shearman Professorship in Humanities and the Shearman Professorship of Liberal Arts.

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