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Born

                                    Jesse Lee Kercheval


I have seen the Seine pushing hard
against its stone quais

but I am not there, not yet

I have walked along the Canal St-Martin
crossed a bridge, looked

into that oil slick water
for a past unmarked by any stone

My passport says I’m still there

I have waited, bundled, on a platform
at the Gare du Nord

for a stranger to take me in her arms
Mother taking me from mother

Twice, I waited until they came to get me
Twice

then I decided to be born

not yet,
but soon


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