“Taproot and Cradle” by Khaled Mattawa (1964-)
Evening coffee, and my mother salts
her evening broth—not equanimity,
but the nick of her wrist—
and my mother bakes bread,
and my mother hobbles knees locked,
and my mother carries the soft stones of her years.
Fists balled in my pocket,
riding the century’s drift,
I carry a wish and a wound.
It’s raining a noisy frost,
the inhabitants’ cruel happy laughs,
their sighs and curses,
small upheavals that slide
from their bellies,
down to their freezing toes..
And the city trudges, and night
loosens its reins, a stolen bulldozer,
a tank full of clowns.
from the window now?
She touches her hair—
She caresses her beauty
like the coffin of a child.
O pen of late arrivals.
O knife of darkened temples.
O my scurrying, my drunken snakes.
I wash her hands with summer rain.
I remember the killed enemy.
I remember my good friends.