Kerry Shawn Keys
Blue sky in the Vilnius ghetto,
the balcony facing the Northern light. . .
crows caw outside the window
as the stars start to stagnate into
a septic clarity of polluted light.
Could one grab a beak to dig
the dark out of the graves,
a feather to row across the. . .
a blueprint to match the eyes.
O may your lips never read the blood
they've tread on mine,
and so turning to the disquieting book
so annoying but framing every vision
on this urban perch in this chosen landó
poor Pessoa, one reads as one might read
the works of a disconsolate waterbug
confined by timidity to the corner
of a kitchen spending a lifetime
telling us how not to live,
that distant birdnest in the leafless,
Winter lilac, days so short now,
I should be bathing in sugarcane in Brazil
and not here with so many wingless dreams
battered by a cold, faceless wind,
bread and salt useless tokens,
the song as all songs an illusion
as the ripples disappear into silence.
Not a waterbug nor a transcribed cockroach,
these days I'm just a customs-clerk,
and this frightens me waking up
almost inhuman with the window
and I drink my glass of water,
calculate the level of mercury
and listen to the crying giving life
to my poem as they drag them
on a beautiful blue day like today
down the alleys, into the forests
and into the trains.