Monday, December 14, 2009

Marjorie Deiter Keyishian: We Didn’t Know

That our stone houses, our high raftered roofs,
were tents—shredding as we feasted and sang,
snug within, though wind keen (though wind break sleep
with those hollow sounds the ear shapes, those words
the ear invents), that hooting wind—great train—
rounding square corners of our houses, eating
them away. Where villages climbed a hill
are paths and a crumbling wall. Under earth
are shards of pots that flushed us rosy red:
steaming stews we spooned out, quarrelling all
the while. Portions were measured, you see,
and rugs (the moths ate) to be divided.

A morning like any other: rounded up,
flushed like hunted birds, we took what we ate—
nothing else. We ate the village.

In five days it was gone. The old died first.
Then the young cried in the night for food, but
there was none. Next day, they, too, were gone
away. Look! I’ve drawn those streets. These boxes
were fine timbered houses. This one was ours.
Where we live now is warmer and stronger.

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