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August 12, 2009

She spent her childhood surrounded
by the missing.
Kidnapped children peered out from milk
cartons, heiresses vanished, then reappeared
in shaky surveillance tapes. Shadowy
foreign governments seized civilians
and held them for years, and terrorists
of all stripes did the same.

She thinks of those Iranian hostages,
held in their workplace, walled
up for over a year. Some evenings,
she feels like a captive
herself, although no scruffy terrorist
holds her at gunpoint, just the shapeless
terrors of bankruptcy and a job hunt at midlife.

She spent half her life expecting to be seized,
but she did not expect so many selves
to be sacrificed. She used to greet
the dawn by logging long runs.
Now she watches the sun rise over jammed cars
on the morning commute.
She used to plant a garden large enough to feed
her family for a season.
Now she picks up a quick meal where she can
or settles for microwaved popcorn.
She used to paint sprawling canvases
that dreamt visions of a new world,
but now she tends to files and forms.
She used to hike through strange parts of the globe.
Now her vacation days, unused, evaporate
at the end of the fiscal year.

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

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  1. August 12, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Chilling. I especially like the final couplet.

  2. August 12, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Oh, no! That’s too sad.

  3. August 13, 2009 at 8:23 am

    very sad, but that’s because it’s very recognizable and easy to relate to. i think the parallel to the issues you mention the movie addresses, is a very logical one, and ensures that the complaining populace shouting at systems and governments is making the very same choices. very, very true!
    thank you, as always. i shall try to check out the movie.

  4. August 13, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Wow, what a gorgeous piece. Very sad, yet poignant in these times. It was really great to hear the poet read her own words.

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