Poem | Miriam Sagan

Beat inspired Artwork by Divya Adusumilli


tasting each pueblo house
as a child
then an architect
who wanted no memorial—
the potsherd
isn’t the corrugated vessel
but isn’t exactly not it

I saw turquoise
scattered on the ground
like a Persian carpet
and I saw things
in the earth
I pretended not to have seen

in the ruins
of the lost city
you ask—where
did these people go?
and the dead
open one eye
surprised for just a moment
by our footsteps

a colonnade
of sphinxes,
a glass jam jar
full of pennies
and rusting nails,
what you leave behind
is in itself a riddle
of remembrance

cuneiform, hypochondria, clouds
every invocation—
as the desert grows
salty as the sea
it once was—
is for rain

measures the distance
in how long it takes
to walk
(in time
and not
in kilometers)—
with my crippled leg
it took a long half hour
for me to stumble, even clamber
the rocky trail
to the triple rainbow
etched over long horned sheep
and figures, their arms
lifted ecstatic
as are mine

spread out a shawl
against the palace wall
and sell
tiny idols clay masks
you claim
were turned up by the plow—
for any tourists
like recollection’s
memory, souvenir

if you took me
in your arms
I’d forget
how the loom
is weighted with stones
how ash buried the longhouse
and the saga
of a king’s wife

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