Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Karen Kevorkian: What Had Once Been My City

A funerary tower halfway climbed,
the Bedouin on a little motorbike always ahead
at the next site, necklaces swinging from his arm

the teenaged executioners parading in front of bound prisoners
before two-thousand-year-old temple columns,
which at that moment still rose

instructed to accept the cruelty that is wartime, its ochre horizon

some believing the border wall slows down large groups,
others having little faith in it

in earliest life forms the human body took shape,
predator fishes with long spines and thick boney arms,
protostarfish like meadow grasses in a breeze accepting
what came along in the current

a land where people did everything
with little flint knives set in wooden handles,
who sharpened blades rapidly against their own teeth
like monkeys who put everything in their mouths

in low tones a man chides the large dog he holds on his lap,
the dog moving closer until its body is one with the master’s

I take all jurisdiction, civil as well as criminal, high as well as low,
from the edge of the mountains to the stones and the sand in the rivers
and the leaves on the trees

on snow beside a mountain lake a woman’s skin spasmed
from the cold she called pure,
naked body gray in the water’s dusk

years solder solid black scrolled linoleum or paper
like something saved from flames of Alexandria’s library

remember Ahkmatova’s I can, lightning strike on
the desert describes a glass web in sand

From The Enchanting Verses Literary Review 

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