Let us have the same dream tonight

If you love this gorgeous poem by the Somali-American writer Ladan Osman as much as I do, find yourself a copy of her hair-raising 2014 poetry collection, The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimonyand be ready for your head–and your heart–to be captivated with every turn of the page.

Photo Credit: zakkiyyah najeebah

“For the Woman Whose Love Is a Bird of Passage”

I am so poor before you. A grackle
whose colors are as good as a peacock’s,
sometimes better in the full face of sun.
The love poem I meant to say

is lost. Instead, I swear an oath.
I curse like someone speaking
in a foreign language. Instead of leave

I say scourge. The proper word a chick’s voice
still in its egg, a beak in a small crack.

Your blood is hot and flowing,
and the hinges of your heart’s valves
allow traffic in all your heart’s rooms.
Is that why the little kisses are not enough?

In your sigh there is the sound of water pouring
into a hot, empty kettle.

Let us have the same dream tonight, I say
and your smile is red glass in dim light.

I dream my front tooth is a crumbling pillar
and you are the entire city of sin, in collapse.
Instead of leave, you say raze. You are so poor
before me.

So let us paint the ocean instead.

We dip the brushes in a canvas that takes them
out of our hands. Now you are the grackle’s tail
calling for eyes from the side of a road,
and I am the best room in your heart.


I love a firmness in you that disdains the trivial

I love this Robert Bly poem so much that I’m going to post it again this year. He’s a big fan of repetition, of letting the words sink in once, twice, three more times, so I think he would approve.

“Indigo Bunting”

I go to the door often.
Night and summer. Crickets
lift their cries.
I know you are out.
You are driving
late through the summer night.

I do not know what will happen.
I have no claim on you.
I am one star
you have as guide; others
love you, the night
so dark over the Azores.

You have been working outdoors,
gone all week. I feel you
in this lamp lit
so late. As I reach for it
I feel myself
driving through the night.

I love a firmness in you
that disdains the trivial
and regains the difficult.
You become part then
of the firmness of night,
the granite holding up walls.

There were women in Egypt who
supported with their firmness the stars
as they revolved,
hardly aware
of the passage from night
to day and back to night.

I love you where you go
through the night, not swerving,
clear as the indigo
bunting in her flight,
passing over two
thousand miles of ocean