Who kills my history knows
it is buried
in the same air ay breathe.
Only a hair is needed to keep you, mother.
Only a fit of bone.
Comfort, comfort, ay am my own.
Wanting simple, a sun like water, a flow and stir of air.
Warm stone, black-warm, dirt scent and bird.
Ay am put out to weather.
Animal eyed me here—heaving, breathing over—
felt by smell for me and loomed.
Air shifted my hair as it neared and sniffed
then left. Comfort, comfort me.
A thresh of sticks and vine, hand-carried
high—ay am my own weight carried by,
kind horse, kind mother, gone.
FOOTNOTES: The Us is a formally fractured poetic sequence spoken by a chronically nomadic people. A member of the group (Ay) dramatizes the coming to self-consciousness of an individual in the group.—JH
Source: Poetry (December 2008).