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

image of a plastic bag caught in a tree.

Translation: Albanian Women Poets

VLORA KONUSHEVCI
Croatia produces a truly royal confectionary / used on special occasions, although some call / it an Ustasha’s chocolate, made in Zagreb by / widows who fed their wounded husbands / to the hungry war deity in Vukovar. / Bosnia’s cevaps are sinfully delicious.

Image of a statue of a woman wearing a dress in white against a beige background, cover of Ama Codjoe's poetry collection.

September 2022 Poetry Feature: Ama Codjoe—from BLUEST NUDE

AMA CODJOE
When my mother was pregnant, she drove / every night to the Gulf of Mexico. / Leaving her keys and a towel on the shore, / she waded into the surf. Floating / naked, on her back, turquoise waves / hemming her ears, she allowed / the water to do the carrying.

view of valley from mountain

August 2022 Poetry Feature: Nathan McClain—from PREVIOUSLY OWNED

NATHAN MCCLAIN
Had I not chosen to live there— / among the oaks and birches, / trees I’d only ever seen in poems / until then…spruce, pine, / among the jack-in-the-pulpit / (though I much preferred “lady slipper”) / the tiger lily, milkweed, the chickadee / and blue jay, even the pesky squirrel