By Paula Hayes Vasquez
Strayer University, Tennessee
Warm hands hug the dirt
Sifting cries of babes in
Warm, passionless night.
I am too garish to under-
Stand the pain of this unremarkable scene.
My mind can only take its unequivocal
Flight, soaring somewhere up beside
The upturned red jugs
That the mothers once used to catch the water,
Knowing as I do that even when the Fathers
Speak our mystic names a hundred times
(After the hundred years of war have ended)
Even then we will not be at peace. There will no rest
Inside the visionless and gutless graves of earth, and
Miraculously I will not be reborn—not into a small water-fly,
Nor a giant girl. War or no war, I have only this one life.
That is what makes it dangerous to abandon. And, that is why
Against so many pleas I cannot simply give it, my life, to you.
Soft jazz guitarists give a backbone of tempo to their
Matted mango lullabies, until I cry. I feel no-
Thing as I cry. Whatever it was
It is gone, taken its flight too
Like a fanatical upside down coastal bird,
That has forgotten its way back to shore.