my friends, my sweet barbarians,
there is that hunger which is not for food —
but an eye at the navel turns the appetite
Thin are the night-skirts left behind
By daybreak hours that onward creep,
And thin, alas! the shred of sleep
Where did the handsome beloved go?
I wonder, where did that tall, shapely cypress tree go?
He spread his light among us like a candle.
Where did he go? So strange, where did he go without me?
All the weapons we marshal to confront the day
You ask to be left by the door before entering.
The sword in its sheath must lie on the grass,
the quiver and bow hung off a branch.
My grandmother puts her feet in the sink
of the bathroom at Sears
to wash them in the ritual washing for prayer,
because she has to pray in the store or miss
When I was five I was put on a bus
and sent to Catholic school
not unlike my mother who was five
when she was put on a train
and sent to residential school,
both feeling that gut feeling
We had no paper
then, or we had
no pen, or no words. How
to say it. We had
no voice. No listeners.
Just deaf night
How to describe sea
To someone who’s never seen it?
He lives to ninety-nine, he wants it, to see it
To walk on its glass surface, to blow the seven trumpets.
Draw a line through our scattered bodies. The pattern of fallen calves in this meadow will mirror
the constellation above. Look up. We whip our tails to a silent song:
Bismillah is my first memory.
I became a bird in the Qur’an
at hardly eight years old.
I opened the dark green cover
and revealed the slippery