On Meeting Robert Hayden in a Dream

Abdul Ali

here among them  the dead  the others  the aliens
I see you without    coke bottle glasses   a wavy comb over 
your nose buried inside a notebook  over-

flowing with strange sightings   men and women
without a homeland   a library to shelve histories
dreams   the names of rare flowers  fruits  baby names

exiled from their villages   learning to say hello
with accents thick   with nostalgia   for their purple planets
here UFO sightings aren’t so spectacular

border crossing is quintessentially american  universal
crowds gather in squalid ghettoes where every country is a city
every city is a verse  & every verse echoes “Those Winter
     Sundays”

where a New World opens up where all the martians are
     welcome 
at the writing table with their fountain pens & swollen digits &
     you whispering

what took so long?