The Other Country
B spoke to me
telling me he sees
clouds drift in a carton of milk.
light he says
is a flock of birds
skimming the rooftops westerly.
The sky disappeared that night
and in its stead a permanent
squats on rooftops.
In this cloudbank small luminescent
hover which I guess
B continues used to be streetlights.
The light sprains
dispersing me B says
running clear out from underneath me.
Across the border the river flows through the rain
comes after mustard seed
every leaf is a slipper thlupping on summer
Across the border one foot easily
forgets the other but that’s neither here nor there.
It isn’t one thing or the
the border is just a line.
But what he really wants to tell
is that across the border
I want to speak to everybody
most of all yes
most of all I want to speak to you.
picking up the carton of milk
and raising it to his lips
he went that night
I watched babies being born
their fists tightly balled
in death B says
wiping the corners of his mouth
Last year there were 1252 official executions
Earlier today in Spain thirty-four
year old Angelo Santomera was arrested
for taking his mother’s
head out for a walk.
Why is memory painful?
I go walk in the park.
Is it just to push ahead?
for a letter so I tramp on.
I pass the foreign parakeets screaming
the birches since their great escape
and let my thoughts roll over. I remember
as a child I believed
was made from fingers, and in woodwork
I too managed to confabulate a pencil
Or as Mr. Moore used to say
joints knocking about half faintly half
else: every form must always be fought.
excavations. Children on their way home.
The hours slowly resolving resemble fingers
I enter the shop on the corner and buy
a bunch of fresh mint and a bunch of coriander.
the two don’t mix in the same plastic bag.
Which is when I remember the letter.
Copyright © Astrid Alben, 2009