The Expatriate

girl in window

by Frank Thomas Smith

The problem with most foreign lands
is that they're much too far away,
like the bleachers in Ebbett's used to be
before the debacle of technology.
Also, either they're terribly bland,
foggy, windy and damp, or,
if southerly, downright dangerous,
where bullets fly and sunscreen 21
can't ward off the assassin sun.

Why, then, does he dwell,
ducking and frying, far from the patria
he tearfully invokes over juice of the grape
at a sidewalk table of the corner taberna?
Call it if you will, with a shrug, "escape".
He'll smile and wave away a fly
or toss aside some graying hair
from his glabrous suntanned brow.
"Could be," he mutters, "but who cares now?"

He'll bid goodbye to you and,
sandal-clad as once Ulysses,
his uncashed pension check
snug against his bony chest,
walk along the winding lane
home to his lovely dark-tressed mistress
who waits with kisses and a wanton caress.

Foreign lands are far away,
it's true, but so is the expatriate.


A window flew open clattering wood,
A girl leaned out as far as she could.

The gentle breasts that filled her dress
Trembled with distraut distress.

A moment later on the bottom floor
A man flung open the rotting door.

She cried: ¿Cuándo volverás?
That, he spat, I know not.

He limped across the squashy street,
Cursing the clumsiness of his feet.

I've often wondered but never learned
If that macho ever returned.