Sunday, April 17, 2016

Blog Exodus Day 9: Perplex

to the sea


You who cannot hear or cannot know

the terrible intricacies of our species, our minds,

the extent to which we have done

what we have done, & yet the depth to which

we have loved

what we have

loved — 

the hillside

at dawn, dark eyes

outlined with the dark

sentences of kohl,

the fūl we shared

beneath the lime tree at the general’s house

after visiting Goitom in prison for trying to leave

the country (the first time),

the apricot color of camels racing

on the floor of the world

as the fires blazed in celebration of Independence.

How dare I move into the dark space of your body

carrying my dreams, without an invitation, my dreams

wandering in ellipses, pet goats or chickens

devouring your yard & shirts.

Sea, my oblivious afterworld,

grant us entry, please, when we knock,

but do not keep us there, deliver

our flowers & himbasha bread.

Though we can’t imagine, now, what

our dead might need,

& above all can’t imagine it is over

& that they are, in fact, askless, are

needless, in fact, still hold somewhere

the smell of coffee smoking

in the house, please,

the memory of joy

fluttering like a curtain in an open window

somewhere inside the brain’s secret luster

where a woman, hands red with henna,

beats the carpet clean with the stick of a broom

& the children, in the distance, choose stones

for the competition of stones, & the summer

wears a crown of beles in her green hair & the tigadelti’s

white teeth & the beautiful bones of Massawa,

the gaping eyes & mouths of its arches

worn clean by the sea, your breath & your salt.

Please, you,

being water too,

find a way into the air & then

the river & the spring

so that your waters can wash the elders,

with the medicine of the dreaming of their children,

cold & clean.

Source: Poetry (April 2016)

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