The Reunification Center

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.