Carole Stone


I will be going on a long trip
to where I will meet my ancestors.
I don’t know their names
or where they are buried.

Dead within me,
they spoke a different language.
Born into exile,
died in a faraway country.
that never accepted them
the way humans live in walled cities
in countries that change their people
every century or so.

Why should I care, brought up American?
Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.
Who remembers the 1922 St. Louis
massacre of African-Americans.
The McCarran act that shut down
European immigration.
The Chinese Exclusion Act. 

Millions of dead in yet another war
who carry their suitcases across the border
the way the Jews did
before they boarded trains to the camps.

On my piano, a photo of granddaughter Maggie
playing Schubert’s Erl König.
Her sister, Emma, reports women’s news.

I tell myself, look around you, Carole.
See how the forsythia spring up yellow.
Birth, birth.
It can’t be stopped.
Even the rain smells of life.



Carole Stone is Distinguished Professor of English, emerita, Montclair State University. Her poetry books are: Traveling with the Dead, Backwaters Press, American Rhapsody, Cavankerry Press, Hurt, The Shadow, Dos Madres Press, Late, Turning Point, All We Have is Our Voice, Dos Madres Press. She won three fellowships from The NJ State Council on the Arts.