Jennifer L. Freed
Golden Door

          Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
          I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

          –Emma Lazarus, ‘The New Colossus’


He says They
keep coming
to reap
the bounty
have sown.

He says Save
what we have
for our

Fridays at the Free Library,
I steer you through the language
that surrounds you here
in your new
You left
your bamboo hills, your missing father, soldiers
cleansing the land
of your people.
You work
nights, emptying crates, filling
big-box stores. You share
three rooms
and minimum wage
with mother, sister, her two boys,
your little girl.
Now you urge me to take
the curry noodles you brought on a foil-covered plate,
the golden dumplings your wife fried specially
to give
to me.