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Original artwork by Anthony J Powers

But who do you want as your neighbors?

Cheryl Dumesnil

The one who made her scarf into a baby sling
and carried her toddler three hundred miles on foot.

The one who salvaged four planks from a lean-to,
turned a bedsheet into a sail, and called it a boat.

The one who filled the babies’ bellies with songs
about the food they could eat when they got there.

The ones who crossed the ocean in a ’51 Chevy pick-up
fastened to oil drum pontoons. The ones who

lashed plastic bottles to a grid of bamboo stalks
and christened it Hope. The one who poured his last

drops of water between his sister’s chapped lips.
The ones who whispered: keep going, almost there,

a few more days. The one who taped the soles
of her broken shoes onto a stranger’s bleeding feet.

The ones who made room on the crowded train roof
for more ones. The ones who travelled together

because we’re safer that way. The ones who
made mattresses of their bodies so their children

could sleep, who ignored the rocks gouging into
their backs and looked up at innumerable stars.