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In the stunned airport of Surabaya
there is a small woman eyes shrunken
by stunned surprise and the sleepless waiting.
She listens to the officials, their words as crisp
as a newly pressed uniform

How lucky they are, she thinks as the photograph
in her small gripped fingers
grows damp from the gripping,
their only task to coax the story away
from the blooded gods and their blackened fury
and drag it –
as a deep-sea diver might
a sightless bottom-dwelling ocean creature –
(where her family now lives)
toward airy light, where the tallies can be made
and made tame:
number of passengers, number of crew,
number of countries, number of causes
that created the spinning spiraling dive
or was it a breaking-apart
in mid-air,
all the parts lunging to sea
rather like the plunging hungry water birds
she has watched on the Mas River at dusk

In every part of the concourse the small woman
sees other hands like her own
the clawed photographs a question:
Have you seen me
Have you seen me?
The open ocean answers:


Today I took my children
all three of them
to a museum
the purpose of which
is to explain the mysteries
of the animals and the rocks
the planets and the oceans

Outside there was snow and wind
I was a snowbird
radiant red plumage spreading
and flitting between iced branches
and snow-dusted nest
my heart wildly beating
and alive
in my downy chest

Departing the museum
in the high-ceilinged expensive foyer
there was a great flurry
of women and children and babies and men
collecting blue coats, red hats with toggles
and mittens tied with string
Small voices rang high above the chorus
like bells

In the chilled hall
I dressed each child
against the cold, my hands sensing
as I placed the garments
the heat from their
small torsos and strong growing limbs,
tender wild saplings,
my own forest of Love
I kept them