05 April 2009

Audre Lorde

[from Audre Lorde's Our Dead Behind Us, Norton, 1989]


Seven holes in my heart where flames live
in the shape of a tree
upside down
bodies hang in the branches
Bernadine selling coconut candy
on the war-rutted road to St. Georges
my son's bullet-proof vest
dark children
dripping off the globe
like burned cheese.

Pale early girls spread themselves
handkerchiefs in the grass
near willow
a synchronized throb of air
swan's wings are beating
strong enough to break a man's leg
all the signs say
do not touch.

Large solid women
walk the parapets beside me
mythic     hunted
what we cannot remember
hungry     hungry
songs at midnight
prepare me for morning.


Some women love
to wait
for life     for a ring
in the June light     for a touch
of the sun to heal them     for another
woman's voice     to make them whole
to untie their hands
put words in their mouths
form to their passages     sound
to their screams     for some other sleeper
to remember     their future     their past.

Some women wait for their right
train     in the wrong station
in the alleys of morning
for the noon to holler
the night come down.

Some women wait for love
to rise up
the child of their promise
to gather from earth
what they do not plant
to claim pain for labor
to become
the tip of an arrow     to aim
at the heart of now
but it never stays.

Some women wait for visions
that do not return
where they were not welcome
for invitations to places
they always wanted
to visit
to be repeated.

Some women wait for themselves
around the next corner
and call the empty spot peace
but the opposite of living
is only not living
and the stars do not care.

Some women wait for something
to change     and nothing
does change
so they change

Our Dead Behind Us

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