The other country

This place has constellations.
Not like where you came from.
That was the main difference
– at first, anyway.

You would not tell this to anyone.
Engines or sirens
remind you of home.

These and the flickering words
of your mother
delivered across oceans.
They hit with enough force to drown.
Salt eats faces, voices,
the language

is starting to stick in your throat.
You speak it to yourself
when nobody is listening.
Sometimes, you forget which word means what,
and must ask, when you can, like a child.

When she asks how you are,
you don’t lie:
They treat me well.
I’m happy here.
She asks for photos.

Wishes you’d write more.

From time to time you send back
an image like the real thing.
Your face, the street you live on.
Once you even turned the lens on the night,
but the camera failed you
and in the still the sky was black.