“A Land Not Mine” by Shireen Madon

09 November 2012 on Poetry   Tags:

Here's to morning air; precise light
through gypsum walls and the smoke

of a neighbor's house on fire
that stuck on our skin for weeks, that I

didn't wash off, hoping it would
darken my hair. I memorized Anna

Akhmatova and thought of your hair. Of
winter and a log in the fire.

Instead, foraging balsam, mulled
wine, fetal amaryllis, dead weather.

Instead, familiar crowd in an auntie's kitchen,
a moon I could not share with you,

an intruding vermillion off the lake—a warm
mouth opening with cool morning words.

Instead, numb to the organs. Instead, prayer:
Oh, Lake Michigan, my winter deity, you lost sea. 

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