Sunday, May 28, 2017

Prayers or Oubliettes by Natalie Diaz

Prayers or Oubliettes

Despair has a loose daughter.
I lay with her and read the body’s bones
like stories. I can tell you the year-long myth
of her hips, how I numbered stars,
the abacus of her mouth.

The sheets are berserk with wind’s riddling.
All the beds of the past cannot dress the ghosts
at my table. Their breasts rest on plates
like broken goblets whose rims I once thirsted at.
Instead of grace, we rattle forks
in our empty bowls.

We are the muezzins of the desert
crying out like mockers from memory’s
violet towers. We scour the earth
as Isis did. Fall is forever here—
women’s dresses wrinkle
on the ground, men fall to their knees
in heaps, genitals rotting like spent fruit—
even our roots fall from the soil.

The world has tired of tears.
We weep owls now. They live longer.
They know their way in the dark.

Unfasten your cage of teeth and tongue.
The taste of a thousand moths is chalk.
The mottled wings are the words to pain.

We have no mazel tov.
We call out for our mothers
with empty wine jugs at our heels.


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