Saturday Poem


A foot poised over a pool.
The surface breaks, a boy falls in,
his laughter fills the afternoon.
Ritual is the only language we truly believe in:
tea steaming a glass mug on a table,
smoke from a cigarette filling the room with blue,
the way the sun falls across our face as we sleep.
These are our things we say.
But somewhere a door closes and another day begins.
What if the woman we have always loved,
the one we desire to wake to is our mother?
The holy homeless fill the city like so many weeds.
Only God’s children can see them.
A blue cross on a wall is a flame.
A ball falling from the sky is a meteor.
Rust is its own kind of truth:
like blood, like cities, like sunlight on a dusty road.
We never find it, of course, but it’s always there,
between the smoke and the flame.

by Chris Abani
Copper Canyon Press, 2009