after & for Ghassan Hage
The day is forecast as catastrophic. Heat
strangles the sky. It bulges, a rotten purple.
Earlier, an old Greek and a friend unexpected
slipped into my sleeping throat to see
why I bulged, rotting within: a history
believed in, threatens to become faith
in a future―didn’t anyone tell you
never to eat a seed? Oh it grows, it grows.
You must lose this weight to be at ease.
I rode the wind to another city
to tell it to get off my back, out my belly,
& it swallowed me whole into its riot, or
Tuesday as it was better known, where
aunties & uncles circled to hold my nude
loving, my rude namelessness & we,
none of us truly family except in our living,
considered whether to kiss or kill
the soldiers in our minds. The country
burns still, and the smoke of it blurs blue ocean,
forest, fences. I mistakenly mow my neighbour’s
yard. I weep into a stranger’s handbag &
she says my son now is not the time for grieving,
it is the time for returning & this & this & this
is what bulges and burns: you refuse, again
to kiss your mother’s feet, to call her home.