On average, more than 50,000 refugees relocate to the United States annually.
-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The burning in her
private place. The fever
and the pain.
The mother, sister, neighbor, aunt – the women
she would ask, who’d know
the song, the salve, the herb, the way
to touch her skin and help her heal – all
to that ruined land she left
just months ago.
No choice now
but to face the foreign
big white hands, his
strange white speech.
No one to translate
her body but her teenage
Author’s Note: (First published in the print journal The Healing Muse, Fall 2015).
Jennifer L. Freed lives in central Massachusetts. When not mothering, writing, or teaching writing workshops, she tutors ESL for refugees. Her poetry has appeared in various journals including Poetry East, The Worcester Review, Cloudbank, and in a chapbook These Hands Still Holding. More information is available at her website: jfreed.weebly.com.