"There are things you don't want to know Like how it felt to sit on a plane with Two children and nowhere to go The law on his side and everyone Else was too, wanting to lock Me up. What else was I to do? There was nothing behind that wasn't Going to kill me, and risk them too." His watery eyes regarded me. The light had been beaten out of them By drill masters and jungle disasters Everything made of water, But not a damn drop to drink So, once home He drank everything in sight Hoping to numb the memory Of who he once could have been. This man knew poison. "You are a prisoner of war," (He put Tom Waits on the stereo And quoted Leonard Cohen, "There is a war between the man And the woman." Tom lurched around the van Doing a drunken polka....) He didn't quite trust Asia, And after everything I couldn't Blame him, After all there was the time I sat beaten and bloodied Babies screaming Denied food and water Denied freedom and justice While a smirking cop Called my husband and Told him that his Property was found And waiting. Then the words, much later: "I am going to get you out. All of you." I might have said I didn't need A hero, I might have pretended that I could fix it for myself. I might have protested that I had nothing to give And nothing I could accept In return for nothing. I might have said I thought It impossible. And it was. Impossible. The plane landed. I had never dropped into The USA in LA that way Before. It was not green and I Did not trust it. The children hung onto me, The center of their world Their anchor Their constant Their everything Their protector The person playing a game Of dangerous deadly chess With them as the pawns Their father chose to Sacrifice And I had sworn to protect. I was forever inadequate Living not for myself. I was always on the back foot Sacrificing the Queen Over and over again Until she was sanded smooth And featureless. But as I hopped on that bus And the grizzled man, who Used to be young in my eyes Held out a hand And California passed me by, Los Angeles shades of orange And sandstone yellow, and clear Distilled blue, and the grey of The highway, The landscape alien and full Of snakes and scorpions Howling with coyotes And only partially Encumbered with Civilization, I started to live For me again.