Remember us, the voices sang.
The life-rafts drifted. Nearer My God
to Thee. The big ship tilted
and was gone.
Whatever Sultana saw
remained in her heart.
She never cursed the ice
or the cracked hull
that blessed her immigration.
For years disc jockeys phoned
to ease their tense listeners
through the big tax deadline.
The happy coincidence was
no happy anniversary.
She accepted their wishes
but never tossed confetti.
For years she sat, confined, a witness
at the living-room, plate-glass window
in the wheelchair that did not roll far.
Her babies grew old, and one died stung.
A bee sting, Mother Harreck cried.
Perhaps there'd been no bee, no sting,
but a child's deep pain carried too long,
the edge growing sharper in secret until at last
other voices, older, cutting into darkest oceans called,
Remember the ice and remember us who drift
a while, then watch hard and long
at our plate-glass windows, waiting
for we all know what.