Unexpected meetings occur in a forest,
on a mountain, 
by the sea.

I shook hands with the men. 

I'm disappearing.

in me 
is disappearing.

So. Is that a yes?

Some of us have taken off our wigs.
The immense, the colossal weight
of our hope. Sex is part of it. 
Do you think I’m pretty?

[The future will present itself with unimaginable 
ruthlessness. But we can guess.]

The Last 4 Things [That hard thread]

That hard thread
between us.

Is it gold? Do I have to be
so outshined by my curtain?

especially by breaking.

people who would die
people who would almost

die and
who would be injured

My dad was in the water.
Across an unprecedented space.

It would rain
for days, they said

he'd come home.
[lists the father's wounds]

That hard thread
is a bone. Is made of bone.

When I was 
a girl,

the first loss,
between tunnels...

I didn't need so much.
I'd eventually get hungry.

Related Poems


The Kinyarwandan word which means both yesterday and tomorrow

World resolves itself
in crowded crane's 
liquid eye, in the cry

of ibis, eye that's gazed
on anyone who's ever walked
this path beneath acacias, through

coffee fields to the river
and back again carrying water or fish.
Cry that cries the morning news.

Come, let's walk this path
together, empty handed, carrying
nothing back but a few words

of a language powerful
enough to turn the river
back on itself, to fill the river

with bloated corpses.
One day I swam far
into Lake Kivu, a thousand

feet of clear water below
and nothing above except sun.
My body suspended on

surface tension, the line
between air and thicker air,
sun the point from which
the water swung. Yesterday
I swam. Now I'm back home.
Tomorrow Remera will swim

out into that same lake, almost
across the border, gut shot,
gasping, almost there, almost. . . . 

Crowned crane wears
a slash of crimson at the throat.
Beneath its golden crest, beneath

its liquid eye, the path winds
through coffee fields
to the river and back again.

Fathom yourself in exile.
In every gurgle of each
morning's pot of coffee

you hear your brother's last
breath. You wake in a forest.
You've been shot. Get up,

stagger down the path
to the river full of corpses.
In its ancient terrible cry

(fling your body in)
ibis pronounces how
beginning becomes the end.