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

blackbird upon a puddle

Translation: Poetry by Esther Ramón

ESTHER RAMÓN
Two of those brief animals / that populated the branches / and the furniture made useless / by humidity and neglect. / They were separated / From time that burns as it passes, / from this insignificance, / from the feeding cycle, / my desires in the shredded remains

Mogadishu: a man holds an assault rifle while people walk by, with a crumbling building in the background

November 2021 Poetry Feature

ALDO AMPARÁN
Nights alone I tread / I drag the cloak // through the mud of the old  / municipal gardens / ancient heirloom my family’s ghosts // exhale / between its woven thread / of silk & cotton / some old // cousin too distant / to have known me // in his life speaks / broken Spanish...

hashem beck

Sometimes All You Can Do Is Wait

ZEINA HASHEM BECK
I take photos of the skin on my thigh, the side of my breast, / my arm, my calf, my belly, & send them to friends. See? / They reassure & recommend doctors. My mother suggests / baking soda mixed with oil or water, rosewater perhaps, perhaps / taking a cool bath.