A Message Comes In

By YVETTE CHRISTIANSË

from Imprendehora

 

Do not say “I hear the laughter of birds
above our heads.” Say, it is the laughter
of women who empty their washbasins
on the steps of very high houses
whose walls, they say,
can never be cleaned.
Say there have been mistakes
and this laughter is not the laughter
of birds above our hearts, but that of women
who are tired of bronze and blood.

Do not say, “These are songs sung by boys
who dive from rocks.” Say these are songs
that escape like birds from graveyards
as if to mock the mourners
who go back, slowly,
to days that weigh a little less.
Say, if you like, these are the wings
of birds who are the sky’s hinges
and this is the sound of a horizon held open
when a body is laid down.

 

 

Yvette Christiansë is a South African-born poet, novelist, and scholar.

Click here to purchase Issue 04

A Message Comes In

Related Posts

Brazilian Poets in Translation

ELIANE MARQUES
Don’t carry large umbrellas (neither at night nor during the day) / They might seem to be an AR-15 rifle or an HK submachine gun / Don’t use drills / They can be confused with a pistol and the bullets being fired / Don’t carry bags / They can suggest that you’re carrying a bomb

poetry feature image

October 2020 Poetry Feature: JinJin Xu

JINJIN XU
And another alights on the sidewalk, / another alights, I step around their outlines / into our next life - om mani padme hum / you emerge from the red dawn to shake open my life, / upside down, flying dust, you unlock / the red cell, cameras light up one by one

Dive

JENNIFER PERRINE
We parked and followed the unlit path, / Hansels and Gretels flocking, hungry, / to our gingerbread shack, sweets hidden / behind a plain façade, unmarked save / for a rainbow draped over the door.