Page 31

home—alongside the latter, referring to how long until that new home remains home. He mentions the latter in two more occasions, when he talked about safety and beauty. “the real wall of the mountain / in whose shadow / for a little while / we assumed ourselves safe, / secure and comfortable / as happy animals / in an unvisited lair./ This is toward the latter part of the poem, where it slowly becomes apparent that the rose-colored lenses in which the persona views life is not so rose-colored after all. As it turns out, Scarbrough was not ignoring the painful truths of an immigrant. The poem is not a sugarcoat to their disdainful plights. Scarbrough’s approach was to talk about it by not talking about it. The subtlety of his style makes for a more powerful impact. The penultimate stanza is a giveaway to the immigrant’s cutthroat truth: ‘which is why perhaps / no house we ever lived in / stood behind a fence, / no door we ever opened / had a key.” It is a double meaning message that speaks of how immigrants are as houseless as much as they are homeless, having to dwell in makeshifts for survival’s sake. “It was beautiful like that. For a little while.” Scarbrough could not have capped off the poem in a more precise manner. The succinct measure and word choice make for a lingering, bittersweet feeling to make the reader contemplate on how the harsh truths of life, but also the fact that one outmatches the other. Scarbrough wrote a strong and optimistic persona, alluding to how humans are masters of their fate and the ‘happiness is a choice’ mentality, to point out that those who are given the shorter end of the stick and to illustrate what it is like for them. The poem brims with a realistic optimism. joust



Joust Volume 1  
Joust Volume 1