(Dedicated to my Grandfather who came to America
at age 16 with just his rucksack)

Bulging rucksack
clutches sculpted shoulders of
sprouting boy who
wears two faces
American wild unsettled spunk
Croatian aching timid hope

His rucksack
smells richly of figs. fish, sweat
tucked wooden flute hums
lush thickets of bawdy Slavic tunes

Packed inside
a frameless photo—half-sister Zora
her long nose a twin of his
shy crooked smile—his too

With a tuck of a strap
it converts to hand-carried valise
rucksack gently squeezes
grandpa’s anxious palm then

swings a smile when
Ellis guards wave them on
his young liquid eyes shimmer
like crystal balls

Rucksack bounces
down stone steps; leads them far
from murmuring ocean
from moon smiling
from crowded shore all the while

hugs my grandpa’s shaking lungs
a salve for his sore moans
not ashamed of teary eyes

Marianne Lyon has been a music teacher for 39 years. After teaching in Hong Kong she returned to the Napa Valley and has been published in various literary magazines and reviews. She has spent time teaching in Nicaragua. She is a member of the California Writers Club, Healdsburg Literary Guild. She is an Adjunct Professor at Touro University Vallejo California.