Potato famines and dictators pawing the dirt
in their jackboots is one thing, accounting for
reverberating swan dives through hell’s rings,
the shimmering, forked tongue
of democracy, is quite another.

My world view is shaped by two eyes
of a color not found anywhere in the Congo,
an uneven acre of coughing earth,
and an oil painting a friend created
eight years before I went to Ireland.

Since it shouldn’t take a lifetime
to find Prague on a map, the new syllabus
requires one part green privilege,
two parts wagon-loading curiosity,
and a dash of existentialism—

this from the woman whose laughing tears
coursed at her niece’s first dance recital,
unable to quell her shock at discovering
every mote of dust bows with pride
to be part of the great human drama.