The guards, filed teeth,
eyes neither warm nor cold,
are armed and armored
against the would-be travelers.
So no one moves forward.
The crowds at the checkpoint
thicken and stamp.
But then, faint music hovers over;
boundaries collapse –
stones become smooth sand
barbed wires fall down.
Where did it come from,
this tune with its swing tones melodic
that carries a strand of souls
across the border to meet and greet
It came from a town
where the people are various
They circle and open all the day long.
Barry Wallenstein is the author of eight collections of poetry, the most recent being At the Surprise Hotel and Other Poems (Ridgeway Press, 2016). His poetry has appeared in over 100 journals, including Ploughshares, The Nation, and American Poetry Review. Barry is Emeritus Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the City University of New York and an editor of the journal, American Book Review.
Editorial art by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright.