Jim Perkinson 12/24/01
it is night over the grasses                                                           and knew all bones pale, all
the mountain bird is quiet                                                           throats dark with unborn moons
the wind like an ancient lost lover
meandering                                                                                    you groaned and the horizon quavered
the island is a green feather on the back of god                     a little
                                                                                                          you found ice in your eye
you were born from a single beat of                                          severing heads and governments
the heart that began that world                                                 and you were no longer you
the turtle looked up when you drew your first breath           but a groundswell
the sky was indigo and quivering silence                                  you knew the long wail
                                                                                                          covered in dirt and banana leaves
but the day was foreign                                                                pushing up concrete on your back
broken by foreigners                                                                     fighting bullets with song
                                                                                                          dying and never dead,
it was war in the fields                                                                  the note trembling
over the cities
war beneath the cruel word of kindness                                  and now the name glitters a thousand thousand
sinking deep into the belly                                                          strong
with poison                                                                                     in your hesitant breath
and you took it all unsuspecting                                                 you speak many and shake in your slender courage
drinking with your heart                                                              you labor with history in your loins
draining the cup                                                                            a volcano in your leg
not feeling the lye until the blood showed                               a banyan tree wrapping your spine
                                                                                                          your words are grapes and wrath
you cried and their name appeared on your lip                      your trembling touch
you obeyed and it was your debasement                                 tumbles walls
you saw the trap in your tiny dark burrow
and carefully hid your diamond tongue                                   it is i who fall
hands became your coin, your trade                                        i fall inside my people
soft and softening, caressing the trouble                                i have been falling for a millennium
soothing the broken skin                                                            before your pointing finger
mending bone they could have broken                                    i fall outside
until you retched                                                                          only in your burning
                                                                                                         have i discovered my seed
and your mama’s face cut your lung                                         is released
your grandmother looked straight out through your            by fire
your people climbed up your gullet                                          and now i am
with blood on their tongues                                                       fire and burning
and you spoke, retching                                                              and there is a world to be cleared
and understood sickness                                                            by flame and kisses
in being sick                                                                                  by tears like rivers of ancestors
and cursed it                                                                                 and your tongue names it
                                                                                                         and my heart wills it
you climbed through the night                                                  and the gods dream it
into the deception of noon
and found the lie white with fever                                            and wait for us