Somedays the border
is a slash of lipstick on a mirror:
a hard red stop line
leaving my looking glass
half emptied.

Somedays the border
is a finger-string,
soft-twine reminder
of what might yet be.

The familiar fold on the map
has become a locked door.
The hinge between
my homelands
snapped shut.

I used to cross
the Thousand Islands Bridge
stomach lurching like
a roller-coaster rider,
the steep ascent of anticipation,
the hanging pause
of papers and questions,
and then
the welcome rush of home.
Now I stand
at the empty turnstile
of waiting.

If the border was a river
I could wade in,
reeds whispering against my ankles,
launch leaf boats
to the other side,
send my mother a letter
on birchbark carefully peeled.

If the border was a stone wall
I could lean my back
on rock and moss
and know my father leaned
against the other side.

But since it is not those things
I will imagine
the border is
that little sliver of space
between two hands
as they reach for each other
an emptiness
at any moment to be crossed by love.