Monday, May 11, 2015
Ascension by Elmaz Abinader, from This House, My Bones (2014)
For Mahmud Darwish
What do exiles do but continue to walk
in countries where they were not born?
And when they leave are their ghosts alone,
Wandering routes river to home to horizon?
Breath visible from the cold of death
I call you to smoke and vapor
We search for the lost through shards of cement
a crusty coffee cup impossible to read.
The cities are homes as much as they are tombs
you draw the map, a longitude of loss
The names of the storytellers will be catalogued
next to saints, teachers, revolutionaries, and bread makers
How many times can your heart break?
How many ways is writing a surgery?
Mahmud, is it too much to hold
I stand in the square and call for you
You pierce the voices of this city—
the sky over Ramallah is refrain.