Cento (When I Dream About My Dead Son)

It was the end of the world.

All night long the wind banged.

I had been happy.

I have read my own map’s markings.

So much for love, so much for promise.

I am alone staring into the eye of the ice.

The moon has ivory teeth.

I wonder if you heard its velvet song.

I tried to follow in your footsteps but they turned to water.

What shall I rub on my skin to make it permeable?

The air is ripe, my fists unclench.

The lights would shine clearer if I closed my eyes.

What prayer would I build? You are not the wind.

We all belong to the sea between us.

I can hear the even breathing of all that is wordless and final.

Strange now to think of you, gone.


The lines were taken from poems by the following poets in the order in which they appear:

Aracelis Girmay Mai Der Vang
Aliki Barnstone Li-young Lee
Aaron Smith Richard Blanco
Alberto Rios Philip Levine
Marilyn Nelson Allen Ginsberg
Osip Mandelstam
Federico Garcia Lorca
Aimee Nezhukmatathil
John Yau
Christina Pugh
Marie Ponsot
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