by Suhrab Sirat, translated by Charlotte Hughes
I am sleep, a body gazing down at its own shadow during the night of wounds.
I am lips the color of the red dawn that kiss the mirror, love their wounds
When each season turns to autumn—Sagittarius shot through, Libra uneven.
Venom eats Scorpio inside out like a Cancer. My stars wound
My world that rests on the horns of an angry bull, shaking, shaking, shaken.
My heart’s, this heart’s, problems are stuck like gum to a shoe & scavenged from the wounds
Of my country without a country, not even one the size of a coffin. My stars
are so dull I can’t see them in the shot-through sky that wounds
The school where I copy Daddy gives me bread. Daddy gives me water. over and over,
in black pen then dust then blood. The cream paper, lined & punctured with wounds.
Among the flocks of people with wool over their eyes & folded down their throats,
I bleat instead of speak, my mind muffled by another type of wound.
I read my books from beginning to end, catching sight of each red-shot wound
On the page reminding me I am a name, I am a memory, walking in the valley of wounds.