(for Chris Abani)
I cannot weep another child through
my throat is full. Eyes brimless.
one drum’s-breath from the anvil, holding.
Only a river can keep these secrets.
And you send a coffin to be my raft;
a boy’s voice,
half fingers, half smoke;
as a voyage from drowning to thunder.
Who shall I save?
The absence of children?
My own hips in love with ghosts--
A soldier’s footprints.
Empty harvests of clicking stone.
And the kill-clocks cough through dog years,
batteries of regret.
Who makes of baby’s breath, a war?
Letting fall, from the crawl space of memory,
a cigarette’s language of hands,
I answer, son?
Your, “Night,” breaks at my bosom.
Splits the body, leaves the dark
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This poem is inspired by, and dedicated to, Chris Abani. I wrote it after reading his novel, "A Song for Night." I felt his language in my body as I read. It changed my blood pressure. I did not know whether to weep with the story's sorrow or revel in the author's poetry. I was moved. This poem is what I offer in return.