I too come from

(after Mahmoud Darwish)

I too come from there, this place of few surviving photographs.
I have some unused stamps, I have some books of yellowed paper
and a map, somewhere, whose windows are all creased.
I have a secret that is not so secret
to those who know, and siblings
where you would not think to find them.
I used to have a house in the elbow
of an alley shaped like the letter L.
Mine is the subtrahend devised of distant hills,
and the background noise of trains after midnight.

Mine is a pair of ghost
magnolia trees, and a woman dressed in white
eternally trying to hitch a ride.
And the smell of dough in the morning,
and the invisible grain of eggshells in the coffee.
How amazed I am to think that once,
at the age of nine, I packed a paper bag with a cloth
handkerchief and a toothbrush, and attempted to run away.

I too come from there, where the sky scribes its name
with the monsoon’s hundred thousand letters.
But even when it rains I know its underlying body is sunflowers,
is made of cypress and old pine.
I know it lights the tapers during power outages.
I know it burns to ash the lottery tickets that did not win.

One Reply to “I too come from”

  1. Wonderful poem, Luisa! This is one to keep, one to learn by heart. And subtrahend is an utterly, deliciously seductive word. I have never encountered it outside of a textbook before.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.