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POETRY: Immigrant Wife by Theodore Deppe

He lures her from her skin and then hides it,
like in the stories, so she can never go back home.
He makes her learn English and bear him children, insists
that she sing to them in his tongue.  And yet,

even in English, the dark vowels of her songs
echo in the children's ears like the voice in a shell
heard miles from sea.  She folds them into beds of waves
and whispers her curse on the land.  Sometimes

the children wake to a gale of Irish and the sound
of the man roaring back at the sea.  And once, they wake
to the thin line of sunrise she traces in her wrist,
the still waters of her bath clouding like poppies

She does not die.  She lives to be rock hard, the bitter
old Yankee who buys the house above the lake, but still,
near dawn, she dreams she might slip down to the black rocks
and swim in the skin her husband left behind at his death.  

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