a spell before the end
Here is a world I built myself
with these, my hands, these tools
for touching, ripping. Not miniature
but crushable as dry silt; these
river people my only comrades,
and even they cannot decipher
my tongue. They pole their boats
past my gate, hallooing, singing
water songs. I snort, pound
gems into the sand at even intervals.
There are things to hide and things
that must be hidden in plain sight.
I shake my head at their tidal fingers,
their tightly-woven baskets. Only I
know what is coming, though
the people mark the reach of each
high-water with less hope. Soon
they will be carrying hulls on shoulders.
Creek beds clench & release, clench
& release, curl back on themselves,
scorpion tails. The river sighs me to sleep
with no singing voice. Soon we will see
what rises from the parched bed.
Whose body is this anyway
that timezones take in jaws and shake
until the heart ticks backward, that holds
splinters, exhales black dust sifted weeks ago,
finds a sigh beneath the collar bone,
beehive behind the eyelids, stands
in the bone dry lot erupting dandelions,
sits on the tarmac too rough
for roller skates, picks a tar pebble, falls
on the mats made for falling, sleeps and
sleeps, tosses on storm waves, sleeps.
He puts on a mask and becomes an animal.
She puts on a mask and becomes a mother.
And this, he says, is why women can never be
as funny as men. Because the world means
too much to them? I say
there is too much stardust in all our veins
to tell, and if you look at that line between
sea and sky long enough it becomes a mirror.
diana aehegma grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii, and now lives in Oakland, CA. She earned her MA and MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, where she won the Ann Fields Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in Beeswax Magazine, Train Tracts, the Tinfish Press anthology Jack London is Dead, and at Bang Out SF.