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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

gone: lost

 

to that ruined land she left

just months ago.

 

No choice now

but to face the foreign

 

doctor, his

big white hands, his

 

strange white speech.

No one to translate

 

her body but her teenage

boy.

 

 

 

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.

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