The Flight of Wingless Birds: The Roma's Lament*
by Cheryl L. Daytec
Some 150 Gypsies whose camp was dismantled have taken refuge in one of Rome's most ancient basilicas, creating a standoff Saturday with city officials trying to get them out…Some people who had gone outside for work or to procure food hadn't been allowed back inside.- Daily Reporter, 23 April 2011
Almost 300 Roma have fled their homes in Hungary in fear of far-right vigilantes, creating fresh problems for a government facing international criticism over a new constitution and media law.-Irishtimes.com, 23 April 2011the police often come. “Go home!”
where is home?
we were born in obscurity
between nothingness and death
the world did not celebrate our birth
neither do we, years after
we knock on Heaven’s door
alas, we are not among the chosen
who deserve its grace
where do we go from the darkness behind?
on the streets between rushing cars
selling wares- sometimes lies- to strangers
eager for the green light?
or the battered cardboard boxes
on the sidewalks where we rest
our weary bodies, rain or shine?
like birds hatched without wings
chance in its blundered shape
hope limping on the edge of death
a ramshackle car
with almost empty gas tank
negotiating a wet dirt road
buried in thick fog
we exist in a present that refuses to fade
into the past whose prodigal abjection
we wish to bury in the interstices of amnesia
our own history objurgates itself
it was written not by our hands
we dread to trail the road
into tomorrow’s gate
leading to a golden city above
that may not welcome us
now we know- its foyer on Earth
has no space for our cold bodies
thorns on our paths-
we clip them with each step
but oh, how they grow and multiply each day
*Thanks to my friend Butch Espere who gave this poem its title.