WHAT I WAS TOLD BY A TRAVELER FROM THE EAST
Never let it be said we grew ashamed
to weep over grand sorrows —
butterflies never seen beneath clouds
of coal soot on gray mornings when gray
women move through valleys between gray
stolid buildings sturdy as communism
itself, built to last forever. Whoring
too is a rebellion; it reeks of soured
law untouched like bad milk along back-
streets that even the starving reject.
It is never cold in my country where
sunrise greets each morning. Once
in the black coal I saw a diamond
winking from the midst of warm flames.
As you see, my hands are not burnt.
endpoem copyright John Horvath Jr