We streaming rivers,
the Saint Lawrence,
the Tagus,
the Mississippi
the Tigris,
the Mekong.

We émigrés,
we exiles,
we fugitives,
we displaced persons,
we asylum seekers
we boat people.
Whatever you call us,
we span oceans.

You collect donations,
you collect blankets,
you collect winter hats,
you collect hoodies,
you collect tube socks,
you collect toothpaste.
you collect long-distance phone cards,
you round up what you take for granted,
what we need to survive,
to feel human again.

We cannot be claimed or owned.
We cannot be cast away or sent back.
We long for a home that can never be home again,
we reluctant nomads.
We are submarine, adrift amid the tides.
Our roots are not held down by dirt or stones.

Shrugging off nations’ clothes,
naked, flowing, we are molten.

February 17, 2017


Greg Santos is the author of Rabbit Punch! (DC Books, 2014) and The Emperor’s Sofa (DC Books, 2010). He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. His writing has been featured in The Walrus, The New Haven Review, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Queen’s Quarterly, The Best American Poetry Blog, and World Literature Today. He is the poetry editor of carte blanche and teaches at the Thomas More Institute. He lives in Montreal.

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