What was the name of the ship my grandmother
         grew up on, making her way to New York? Much later
         and elsewhere California beckoned
         to a friend of mine. She sat on the plane and watched
         as the stuff of her life flashed briefly in the sun before
         being tossed into the cargo like so many memories.
         By then my grandmother was refusing to fly, and I
         took off for the other coast where I could feel
         as small as sand.

         The lady has old, cloudy eyes. The girl slips in
         her sky blue lenses. I see that time is a world traveler.
         We have spread ourselves out over this spherical surface,
         snapping into place like raindrops
         on the skin of the ocean. Shifting and shimmering
         is our great fugue—my Atlantic repeating itself, a friend’s
         wheels lifting off under wing, a grandmother’s bow
         tying into port.

         Two by two the animals got on board. One by one
         we lie down in the ground. Whose migration
         counted most? An old lady was once a girl on a ship
         being tossed to a dog of a country—America grabs her
         in teeth, shakes her and carries her home. I sleep face down
         in a city on the beach. And my friend’s displacements come
         relentlessly one at a time.

         There was a time when the three of us stood together,
         floating in generations, many moments
         without motion. The restlessness of a long life bordered
         a buckling down into newer seats of passage. A bird
         flapped its strong wings within each of us. It promised
         freedom and flight, news of land in sight. It flew in a great
         arc, an honor guard. So we stood, we modern Noahs,
         waiting, holding out arms.

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