Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Old Land by Aleksandar Hemon

The Old Land 

In the old land,
people perished not from hunger,
but from gorging on lust and liver.
Birds flew backwards, thoughts swarmed
Against foreheads. Grass vined up stakes,
Sprouted out of the eyes of the impaled.
In the old land,
The mountains were seasonally flattened,
Carved and rolled up like woven prayer mats.
The sky was shallow and piebald in the fall,
Striped and shiny when it rained or snowed,
So splendorous we’d go blind, lose our minds.
In the old land,
Homes were made of honeycomb and straw,
Cars ran on blood, melted pennies, bones.
Streets zig-zagged like startled antelopes.
Life and death were simple and whole,
No need for explanation, let alone hope.
In the old land,
Love was meant for strangers and their dogs,
Yowling, licking wounds, sore lymph nodes.
So we were living our long lives at home,
Until we sank and resurfaced in this void,
Different skins, goggled eyes, nowhere to go.
Just to be as we were, we had to destroy
All the wrong distant lands, the many
Scared elsewheres, banging at our doors.

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