NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2013 - Page 26

By MEENA ALEXANDER Indian Ocean Blues L’hibiscus qui n’est pas autre chose qu’un oeil eclaté Aimé Césaire, Corps Perdu 1. Solitaire 3. Inwood Sita I have numbered the pages And find the ground very uneven. In springtime I take off my sandals And run freely. Sita bathed in sand. By wildwort And willowherb Fire starts— Except for mud and shards of stone Embedded in tree trunks, I do fine. It’s a door I am looking for—painted white, Just like those old walls. Dry ground cracks, Swallows her whole. Sita- found- in- a- field Fled to Inwood. 2. Dérive I dream of a shack by the river’s edge And keep walking. It takes me a day and a night And still another day. On West 34th I hear birds Warbling inside a skyscraper. Murmuring the name of the goddess I hop over mounds of waste paper Rama cast her out, Lava storms cooled her Dirt cloaked her, A shimmering stole. Days later, on Dyckman Street As cobbles crack She slips into a manhole, Waves at me. 4. Shook Silver Black plastic bags have split. I touch a cairn, ancient Bewildered stone. Is this where the buffalo leapt? I was a child on the Indian Ocean. Deck-side we dance in a heat- haze, Toes squirm under silver wings. Under burlap someone weeps . Bones, spittle, blue-fish, Couches with polyester fillings Waves of sulphur Where the homeless slept. Amma peers out of the porthole, Sari stitched with bits of saffron, Watch out for flying fish She cries. North of nowhere, I hide in Isham woods. Our boat is bound for Africa. They have goats and cows just like us, Also snakes that curl Under the frangipani tree. Remember what grandmother said? If you don’t keep that parasol Over your head You’ll turn into a little black girl. 24 Where is she now, Child crossing the livid sea? Older now, I must speak to the shadows. BRN-FALL-2013.indb 24 9/13/13 12:47 AM