The poem's title is a quote from an Afghan girl in a Texas
public elementary school, where the wide population of
students represent more than 30 countries and no one
is called a "refugee." They are called "newcomers."
Her dress shimmered tiny pink and green flower gardens
like a tablecloth in a rural twentieth century
American farmhouse, something tender
you never saw since you were a child too,
pleats and folds along the bodice,
tucks and stitchery made with a patience
that barely abides anymore, her hair tightly braided
and coiled in circles against her perfect head
with tiny red ribbons at elegant intervals,
but when you said, Memories, her face fell.
She whispered, we left them, we had to
leave everything in our house,
my cabinet, my doll, my books,
my pepper plant, my pillow.
Nothing now we knew before.
But we have a few pictures.
My memories live in my mother’s phone.
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