Baby in a box

by Anne Ward=Masterson

Baby in a box

Just fed and washed

By a loving mother

Trying to keep house

In a muddy field

Somewhere between the failed state she fled and

The host of rich countries feeling too poor

To take one more refugee family

Strewn with orange peels,

Moldy bread crusts

Trampled hopes

Sodden with sorrow

Even the fire gives off more smoke

Than heat

Against all odds

She smiles

Perhaps she doesn’t know,


She is a deposed queen

Born in the old Portsmouth hospital
In a state so small
Other states can ignore it
Until it’s time
To pick another president
That’s where I go back to
Back to the Lamprey River
Vampire fish and all
Silt between my toes
Catching pickerel, weeds
Wishing for wide mouth bass, trout
That is where I am from
Glorying in the sudden showers of rain
Walking across hay fields into the magic
Of the apple orchard cool and sweet
Visiting the beaver pond for skating among the trees
In winter
That’s where I’m from
Marching in the Memorial Day Parade
WWII veterans, still svelte in uniform
Sandwiched by kindergarteners and first graders in newspaper hats
The Old Man of the Mountain
The smell of the Rye Marshes at low tide
That’s where I’m from
The sea washes sand and boulders
And my wounds
It takes the breaths it hurts me to take
When you tell me to go back when I’m standing on the soil of where I come from