[ToC]

 

 

2 POEMS

Saddiq Dzukogi

 

QUENCHING

It is to be hoped that a tree
will let its leaves rot
into earth as nourishment;

I am searching
for the name of my daughter,
a piece of ribbon

I found hanging on the door-hedge—
I stare long until I hear
her voice rising

from the knotted edges of the silk.               
And I enter into a conversation
like a race-horse released into fire.

The ribbon stuffed
with all her words, frothing
like a burning piece
 
of a butterfly's wing, greeted
with water baubles—I mean it
in contrast of the disrobing
 
silence of quenching.
The redwood flower un-wilts
into a new fragrance, a smell
 
like the moon common
to every night that visits,
clatters along all the crannies

of an unforgettable half-side
of a dark day—widening
into newer edges,

the willow that falls
into the ears of God, a thrush
housing its body

inside its own wet wings.
Do you not see, child?
Once your songs endure

inside my bones,
they will consume the loneliness,
yours and mine.      

 

__

BURIAL SHEET

How can I descend a staircase
I am yet to climb? The choral
scotches my throat. I come to sing, lying
on the cold floor, a fragment of my sadness,
where my mother washes my daughter's inert body.
My mouth is where pallbearers drop
condolences like a toffee. I smell the floor
to sense her scent. I hone my anguish
into a sharp nail and press it
hard against my neck. The day
my child died, I lay in the cordial slice
of an afternoon below the dome of the house
humming over an empty crib. In the moment
my mother wraps her in a burial sheet, I want
to die, so I can drag my child back
into her mother's arms. It's a respite
to even think I could achieve such a Godly act.
In my daughter's absence, I'm surprised that
her light glows more. I stuff her napkin into my back
pocket. I can't sit when grandmother
offers me chair. I arrive late to the interment.
Washed down to my toes with the news. I miss
my child like she has been dead
for a thousand years. The feeling ripples her face
against my mind, and my mind feels like a mind
of darkness. I walk through a bridge
beyond myself, within my small beginnings,
with the countless realms of sadness
between me and the light she keeps inside my heart.

 

 

__

These are poems born out of grief and the celebration of my beloved daughter Baha, who I lost 21 days after her first birthday. I have nothing else to say, but that I have lost Baha to death, but in writing these poems I feel like I am holding her in my hands. She is alive as my grief, alive as memory, alive as a song whose words release her into the star that can not be made into dust.