“After the Wall (1991)”

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after Nathalie Quintane

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Concrete wall with barbed gate: no lark
when guards demand identity papers.
Your skin was gray that day. Ruin lay
beyond. The poetics of historical process
undermined Resistance. The wall was real
in the minds of those it made impossible.

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One lived more or less depending
on which side of the wall a person fell
at birth: that way one could not leave
and lived contained. This way: more
more. One could walk through the
gate or along the boundary and live.

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Life goes on. Trade wars for things.

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You are now a possibility in the whole country,
traversing the once-border—that no one sees—
without blinking, remembering everything
cheap on the other side where you were foreign
even though speaking the same language.
Today you are a thou actual Me everywhere.

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