American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Passage · Poetry

Carolyn Forché

Each time the train slows, a man
with our faces in the gold buttons
of his coat passes through the cars
muttering the name of a city. Each time
we lose people. Each time I find you
again between the cars, holding out
a scrap of bread for me, something
hot to drink, until there are
no more cities and you pull me
toward you, sliding your hands
into my coat, telling me
your name over and over, hurrying
your mouth into mine.
We have, each of us, nothing.
We will give it to each other.

— Carolyn Forché, from “For the Stranger,” The Country Between Us (Harper & Row, 1981)

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