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Tuesday, October 27, 2015


by Janice D. Soderling

On Aug. 26 in Idomeni, Greece, a cousin of Ahmad's, Nisrine Majid, looked out of the train that would carry the refugees through Macedonia, to its border with Serbia. SERGEY PONOMAREV FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

When war comes to your country,
it will not just come to other towns than your town.
It will not just come to people you don't like anyway.

When war comes to your country,
the milk you buy at your corner grocery store
will not be there for the buying.
It will never be on your breakfast table again.
Sorry. No breakfast table.

When war comes to your country,
your children will be crying on live television.
Sorry. Life isn't always fair.

When war comes to your country,
it will bring you new knowledge.
Words which you never fully understood
will gain a deeper significance. Chlorine gas.
Barbed wire. Tear gas. Batons. Bread.

When war comes to your country,
when you flee with your family,
what should you take, what leave behind?
Family photos? Your new espresso machine?
No, be smart. Take bottled water,
a pan to cook in, soap, a towel,
band-aids for minor cuts and scratches.

When war comes to your country,
take sturdy walking shoes, woolen blankets.
Be prepared for a long wait. The borders are defended.

Sorry about any inconvenience.

Janice D. Soderling has previously contributed to TheNewVerse.News. She is featured poet at the October Quill and Parchment  and has forthcoming fiction at Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and Wasafiri.