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.

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