Monday, October 03, 2005

Chilling Read

Re-creating the Scene
by Yusef Komunyakaa

The metal door groans
& folds shut like an ancient turtle
that won't let go
of a finger till it thunders.
The Confederate flag
flaps from a radio antenna,
& the woman's clothes
come apart in their hands.
Their mouths find hers
in the titanic darkness
of the steel grotto,
as she counts the names of dead
ancestors, shielding a baby
in her arms. The three men
ride her breath, grunting
over lovers back in Mississippi.
She floats on their rage
like a torn water flower,
defining night inside a machine
where men are gods.
The season quietly sweats.
They hold her down
with their eyes,
taking turns, piling stones
on her father's grave.
The APC rolls with curves of the land,
up hills & down into gullies,
crushing trees & grass,
droning like a constellation
of locusts eating through bamboo,
creating the motion for their bodies.
She rises from the dust
& pulls the torn garment
around her, staring after the APC
till it's small enough
to fit like a toy tank in her hands.
She turns in a circle,
pounding the samarium dust
with her feet where the steel
tracks have plowed. The sun
fizzes like a pill in a glass
of water, & for a moment
the world's future tense:
She approaches the MPs
at the gate; a captain from G-5
accosts her with candy kisses;
I inform The Overseas Weekly;
flashbulbs refract her face
in a room of polished brass
& spit-shined boots;
on the trial's second day
she turns into mist--
someone says money
changed hands,
& someone else swears
she's buried at LZ Gator.
But for now, the baby
makes a fist & grabs at the air,
searching for a breast.

From: Dien Cai Dau - Wesleyan University Press: (1988)

No comments: