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Two Poems

Dead Reckoning

 

They say birds always find their way back home
but home is a nowhere – a memory; a never was.

 

Do wings remember spaces in the air
the way we might a place? A field of rice?

 

How do you fly back to that? Away from
………….a tomb of fears, this place yearning for you…

 

Some years ago, I lay bright flowers on
my grandmother’s grave. Years before, I saw

 

my grandfather’s ashes taken by the
furrowing wind in the Bocas islands.

 

I am not myself nor have I ever been
something apprehending the sun

 

and other bright celestial objects
thinking: this is a tapestry in orbit

 

around me. I am completely convinced that
we were the last creatures to discover

 

how to be in the world. My beard grows wild.
My children brush past me in the darkness.

 

Their chattering voices fill my ears and
then my chest and I cannot hold it in.

 

I am always coming home.

 

 

 

Genealogies

 

Do not tell me a thing does not do what
it does – that these chains (now plated in gold)
are no longer chains, or that from above
the clouds no longer look like drowned bodies
washed ashore in the rolling surf.
……………………………………………………….I must
go to my mother to learn the real names
of the gorgeous objects in this greened world,
of the beauties that can drive the body
to exhale its life in one purpling sigh,
the body that is a precarious house,
assembled in this world but out of time.

 

But I can no longer trust my mother’s
histories. They are not the taut suspensions
my adolescent mind thought them to be.

 

The blue-black body breaks at its closures,
twisting in a dancing double helix
dripping blood and amazement.
                                                          We will be.
Home soon. Bowls filled with brown oxtail and broad
beans. At the food stand, an umber dog floats
through the crowd like a leaf.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

is a writer, editor, and lecturer in the British Virgin Islands. His poems have appeared in Prelude, Smartish Pace, The Poetry Review, WILDNESS, Wasafiri, The Rusty Toque, Reservoir, L'Ephemere, The 2018 Forward Book of Poetry and elsewhere. He is the author of Make Us All Islands (Shearsman), which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and Giant (Platypus Press).

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