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Thursday, December 19, 2013


by Penelope Scambly Schott

Syrian children take shelter against the cold in Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan. © UNHCR/B. Sokol

Our town has lit the star on Dufur hill,
its heavy orange extension cord draping
across snow crust.  Below, in lit houses,
we cook supper.  Even the poor will eat.
I’m glad they won’t turn on their radios
to hear about one family in Syria
beyond the reach of refugee agencies
who cluster by a stove kluged together
from galvanized scrap. There is no wood.
This family is burning their leather shoes.
The shoes of children offer little heat.

Penelope Scambly Schott lives in Portland and Dufur, Oregon, and donates to the food bank.  Her most recent books are Lovesong for Dufur and Lillie Was a Goddess, Lillie Was a Whore.  She is a regular reader of The New Verse News (and a fan of Tricia Knoll’s frequent contributions).