This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

September-October 2016

Post Ashes, Station I and II

Poetry by Canisia Lubrin

Canisia Lubrin

Post Ashes, Station I

Between us, that tune you love more than your life,
like honey is a thing said without need for panacea

Though I’d haven’t a few months
ago agreed, the other day okay’d it:
I’d have to dream to bring you back, heralding
midnight, the perfect crucible, your skull
like a harness for your purple prostate
though I could just as well go before you

My mind bell-off the passing sails
on a tumbling forest, gifting me
this silence or you, another way—
the sea. I have failed
you already, dear father
Ain’t I feared enough
your partial tongue,
too skilled at pirate & poison.

How I miss the days you’d answer
everything with a sigh

Post Ashes, Station II

If I had know, I would never have no children
Si mwèn té sav, ma té ka’i jenmen fè pyès yish

The chants in your regrets
mimic a wood-sound &
better in Latin: si cognovistis me, ut non habuerit prolem,
all my children, yet you have never been priest apart
from the bell you rung every Sunday
for three sharp decades of your life
while your last daughter’s heart
in the second pew soared like bird in chest

Do I balance the score if I tell you that
For a man with many offspring, you will know before your end
There’ll still be too few signs of you left
to keep a pulse, to survive—
to bury in the garden
to grow

Canisia Lubrin was born in St. Lucia, has an MFA in fiction from Guelph-Humber and her first poetry collection, Voodoo Hypothesis, is forthcoming in 2017.

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