The Reunification Center
We brought pictures of the missing,
held gingerly, by the cropped margins,
as if the eyes were scalding; or food:
steaming casseroles without ladles,
though the night was mild; Evian;
M&M's, which we tried to hand out
in that cordoned-off street
where an ambulance chugged empty.
And each stranger refused, a little pained,
no, no, I'm here to help; we offered aspirin,
stock certificates, a child's rocking horse,
a teddy bear with an empty eye socket,
but no one consented to receive that treasure.
A doctor ashen with fatigue shouted
into a cell phone, shaking it
when it didn't answer; a digger
dozed hugging his shovel;
a survivor, mesmerized by the portraits,
stunned at their beauty, compared them
scar by scar with the faces of the living.
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