Imperial Beach, California
There will be enough time for her scent to enter your pores,
enough time to rekindle sensation. Not nearly enough to savor it.
The rusty door will whine open, a gate between two prisons.
All that is lost will rush in like a chill, while the memory of touch
ghosts across your skin. Be ready for the cries of seabirds to catch
in your throat, their wing beats a warning:
Don’t stay too long. Be grateful for this opening between nations.
Hug, kiss and hold your mother, in that order. Follow the rules.
Believe in the future as you pull apart, even as new fences
split the earth, as zones of friendship shrink into the shadows
like thieves. Ball up the photograph of this visit in your fist if you must,
but do it gently. Tomorrow, let it unfold like a new prayer.
Editor’s Note: Read more about Jannet Lorenzo and the “Door of Hope” here.
Debbie Hall is a psychologist and writer whose poetry has appeared in the San Diego Poetry Annual, A Year in Ink, Serving House Journal, Sixfold, Tuck Magazine, Poetry24, Bird’s Thumb, Poetry Super Highway and other journals. She has work upcoming in an AROHO anthology. Her essays have appeared on NPR (This I Believe series), in USD Magazine, and the San Diego Union Tribune. She received an honorable mention in the 2016 Steve Kowit Poetry Prize and completed her MFA at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Debbie is the author of the poetry collection, What Light I Have (2018, Main Street Rag Books).
Photograph by Chris Stone.