On The Terms Of Immigration* by Julia Knobloch

Dear Bertolt Brecht, I feel for you,
I understand your pain, I do, although
personally? I always had the urge
to drive a nail into a wall in foreign lands,
if only for one print in a cheap frame.
I bought two chairs, I carried them alone,
painted them green, and red, for my guests
to sit on, next to the potted flowers
I found in the hardware store around the corner.
Alegría del hogar: joyful home,
that’s how they are called in Argentina.
I know, I need to improve my accent but
by myself, I don’t master the language,
much as I study grammar and meter.
Let me describe to you my excitement,
when I moved into a larger place,
when I acquired more nails, and more chairs.
Let me describe to you my disappointment,
when no one came to visit me,
when I understood that despite myself
I was an unaccomplished immigrant,
and no telegram implored my return.

*After Bertolt Brecht’s On the Term of Exile

Julia Knobloch is a journalist and translator turned project manager and emerging poet. She recently won the 2017 Poem of the Year prize from Brooklyn Poets. Her writing can be found in Green Mountains Review, Yes, Poetry, in between hangovers, poetic diversity, and with Brooklyn Poets.


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