At the mosque’s entrance 3:30 a.m. Syrian women beg wearing black gloves. Your father’s grandmother was Syrian before the country was ash. Before the government turned to kill its people. What incites that internal blaze? What says it is me I will take or not me but those whom I claim? We are claimed after meditation. We are walking an empty street after pretending to play drums. After I recognize the heather in air after we swim in a pool surrounded by azaleas after your mother smiles observing us after we sleep in her house fields of sunflowers. I’m on a bus watching them sway. I’m forgetting the distance the inevitable loss I will hold warm as snow whitens the green. What will you hold? What will you see beyond your hands? Streets lined with jacarandas that morph to pines to a self beneath ice that wolves trample silently? Someone still begs. Someone still believes in our innate generosity. You are waiting for me but refuse to say it. You believe in returns. You believe in the planet’s roundness. You believe in gravity’s inaudible assurance. You believe in what I doubt.
Copyright © 2019 by Myronn Hardy. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 10, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.