The Other Side

I saw many from my generation
fly over the Atlantic to crawl
in basements. Pipe by pipe,

we removed asbestos
brick by brick, we built towers scraping the sky.
Watched with suspicion,

we rounded our backs. We flexed
our vocal cords to accommodate
English sounds, yet our accent stayed

guilty of always-worthless viewpoints,
the tongue-twisting names a signal to cite
one of the Polish jokes media continued to air.

We built our new lives on familiar old
blueprints our countrymen erased
back home while we were gone, socialist ethics

dismantled like the Berlin Wall,
friends we shared school desks
and stolen cigarettes with, lost.

Wherever we are, we are alien. Greying,
growing wrinkles, restless we howl
at a blue moon.

On the other side, the soil
rich with blood. Our ancestors’
burial mounds light the sky.

Born and raised in Poland, Edytta Anna Wojnar now lives in northern New Jersey, where she teaches at William Paterson University. She is the author of chapbooks: Stories Her Hands Tell (2013) and Here and There (2014) published by Finishing Line Press. Her work has appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, Paterson Literary Review, Narrative Northeast, Cagibi, Ponder Review, and Edison Literary Review, among others.