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pantoum: landing, 1976

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dreaming the lives of the ancestors,
you awake, justly terrified of this world:
you could dance underwater and not get wet,
you hear, but the pressure is drowning you:
 
you’re awake, but just terrified of this world,
where all solids are ice: underwater boogie,
you hear, but the press sure is drowning you:
the igbo were walking, not dancing:

where all solids are ice, underwater boogie
is good advice, because they’re quick to melt:
the igbo were straight up walking, not dancing:
and you’ve still got to get through this life:
 
take my advice, quickly: they’re melting:
you could dance underwater and not get wet:
and you’ve got to, to get through this life still
dreaming the lives of the ancestors

Evie Shockley, “pantoum: landing, 1976” from a half-red sea, published by Carolina Wren Press. Copyright © 2006 by Evie Shockley. Reprinted by permission of Evie Shockley.
Source: a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press, 2006)
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pantoum: landing, 1976

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