Birding along the border in the shadow of Tijuana,
eyes alert for the rufous-crowned sparrow,
I begin to read another story inscribed in the trail.
A blue shirt, part of a shoe, flattened water bottles,
a bicycle frame without wheels
abandoned in the dash for cover,
dropped while dodging the searchlights.

Unbidden, an image surfaces of another time
and other border crossings made at night and on foot.
My father, a little boy, riding atop the bundles
in a wooden cart pushed by his brothers
over broken roads, his mother and sisters
plodding behind, their shoes wearing thin.
Cold clawing through coats and blankets.
Fleeing pogroms. Walking across Poland
all the way to the sea.

Lois Levinson is a retired attorney, a birdwatcher and a student at Lighthouse Writer's Workshop in Denver. She lives with her husband and their son, as well as three dogs and two parrots, in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

This is Lois’ first published poem.