Morning Coffee # 14

Where the author pretentiously post a poem he enjoys.

The Immigrant’s Song

BY TISHANI DOSHI

Let us not speak of those days

when coffee beans filled the morning

with hope, when our mothers’ headscarves

hung like white flags on washing lines.

Let us not speak of the long arms of sky

that used to cradle us at dusk.

And the baobabs—let us not trace

the shape of their leaves in our dreams,

or yearn for the noise of those nameless birds

that sang and died in the church’s eaves.

Let us not speak of men,

stolen from their beds at night.

Let us not say the word

                                            disappeared.

Let us not remember the first smell of rain.

Instead, let us speak of our lives now—

the gates and bridges and stores.

And when we break bread

in cafés and at kitchen tables

with our new brothers,

let us not burden them with stories

of war or abandonment.

Let us not name our old friends

who are unravelling like fairy tales

in the forests of the dead.

Naming them will not bring them back.

Let us stay here, and wait for the future

to arrive, for grandchildren to speak

in forked tongues about the country

we once came from.

Tell us about it, they might ask.

And you might consider telling them

of the sky and the coffee beans,

the small white houses and dusty streets.

You might set your memory afloat

like a paper boat down a river.

You might pray that the paper

whispers your story to the water,

that the water sings it to the trees,

that the trees howl and howl

it to the leaves. If you keep still

and do not speak, you might hear

your whole life fill the world

until the wind is the only word.

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