This one was in Plainsongs, a long time ago.
To my republic immigrants arrive
with no fanfare of paperwork; they come,
and right away they ask to be left alone.
They want to go where yeoman farmers live
and beekeepers and Latinists. Old maids
give them each maps and send them on their ways,
unstamped, unnumbered, all unphotographed.
In my republic each one makes a stop
at gift shops which sell baseball gloves and bats
with which they make their own ways to the dark
sinuous backroads of the heartland states,
thence to disperse to dry or forest places.
No one keeps count. No one’s allowed to do so.
You’ll hear them playing catch in summer’s dusk,
trying to learn to act like you and me,
even the ones who exit tropic climes
in oddball togs woven from unknown bolls.
If not at first, then soon. They must be just,
like us, and just a trickle, which is why
they all play ball, a sort of crowd control,
the only one allowed in my republic,
short on theologians, long on shortstops.