Immigrant




Unrolling long sheets
of asbestos, the particles
floating on air, like miniature
stars, traveling down an unmasked
windpipe, the first insult, dark spot
on a lung.
 
You draw pictures 
of your father, cigarette
poised between his lips,
the smoke, a curlicue of gray crayola.
 
Hanging on the fridge,
your mom puts magnets
on all 4 corners.
 
30 feet below the ground,
the mine shaft is dark and
dangerous, but, he brings 
home steelies.  You keep
his recliner warm.  Heat his
plate of potatoes and cod.
 
His cough wakes you up every morning.
 
He drives you to the hills 
where he teaches you to fire
a gun at unsuspecting aluminum cans.
His hands smell like grease and metal.
 
Running blade sounds from the garage,
you straddle the sawhorse while he inhales
the dust from your hope chest.
 
And you do nothing, and there is nothing
you can do, small helpless child.
 
The spot grows, the scars multiply
and he slowly drowns.
 
You don't know why, but, you save
the papers from the Norwegian doctors
that state:  Clear upon examination.
 
Those lungs he gave to America.


 Lisa Zaran



 
 

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