Give Me Your

Not like the Mother of Exiles,
Lifting her lamp beside the golden door;
Here at his walled-off, insular gate stands
A converted Walmart, whose wretched refuse
Is the vivisected child, and its name:
De facto criminal. From his braggart maw
Glowers world-wide warning; his white-rimmed eyes command
The windswept border that malicious ignorance surveils.
“Save, needy lands, your free breath!” growls he
Through spray-tanned lips: “Keep your pained parents, your raping hordes,
Your huddled hostages yearning to serve (not infest),
The suffering subjects of our wealthy stores,
Keep these, your tortured, tested, terrible tenants,
Or I’ll keep your children in my dungeon holds.”

From Four Weeks

Even from four weeks,
you are all contemplation,
a tiny brow heavy
with patience.

Your grandfather sh
your expression often.
Even before his own children
were grown, he would sit,
think of you,
and wait.

Remember Malcolm,
first born
of
first born
of
first born:

circumstances formed things
until he could not wait any
longer, but between
your other stalwart names
your grandfather still sits.

Think of him waiting
and be patient.

(for Malcolm Fraser Abraham)

Knives

Child_knife

(c) Clarion Project.

“And the children are all armed with knives”
–R.A.D. Ford

His hands are empty as he emerges.
There is no place to hide such a weapon.

His head will crane backwards
unless you support it.

Soon enough,
his own fingers will suckle him;

still silent in your arms,
no longer content with passive nourishment.

As he grows places to hide,
his head will stand and swivel
on its own,

his eyes darting for danger
before settling again
on you.

His knives
will keep you away.

Addis Abeba, 3 a.m.

three-sleeping-babes

“They are leaning out for love / they will lean that way forever” –Leonard Cohen

These precious, fragile petals
are drooping now.

All sustaining essence cut,
grown cloudy in the
steel cabin oven.

The threat of ejection,
at this hour,
triggers a slow, mournful
hemorrhage of tears.

We know — perhaps even
more viscerally — this
frustrated pulse, restraining
ourselves only with a
familiarity born of greater years.

And yet we yield the less resilience.

Moments later, quenched by
simple sleep and a gentle laying
on of hands, their six irises again
gaze petal-perfect, their

stems stand straighter still than beforehand,

leaning
lithely and literally
toward the growing sun.

[Bole International Airport, May 24, 2017]