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Mimi White

An Old Human Song

Go home, go back to your mother’s gardens.

Go back to your bowl of borsht.

Go back through the border without fences or berms or bunkers.

Go back to your wife who cries at your kitchen table, the fruit spoiling.

Go back to your daughter who is late for school waiting.

Go back to the sky over your meadow, your apartment, your fallow fields.

Go back. Turn around. Drop your bullets. Tell me your name.

Go back Nikita, Boris, or is it Joseph? Where is your home?

Go back to your table set for supper, your place by the window looking out.

Go home and plant flowers it is almost spring.

Go. Take these seeds. Plant them for me.

Go, before they find you. Here have a sandwich, take two.

Go at dusk, that’s when we go, layered with sweaters, wearing our sturdiest shoes.

Go before I leave you, before someone shoots you, before you die away from home.

Go along the river where the trees will be thick with leaves come spring.

Go before the trees burn, before the sky explodes.

Go before they shoot you, before I tell them you are here.

My husband who’s a teacher in three days learned how to kill. Go.

Go, the sky is leaving, the bombs will soon fall.

After Gerald Stern’s “The War Against the Jews”


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