By Ruth Ellen Kocher
This can be the writer s first publication and winner of the 1999 Naomi lengthy Madgett Poetry Award. whereas miscegenation has consistently been extra part of American historical past than many are looking to admit, Desdemona s fireplace trips via this usually forbidden panorama in poems which are occasionally painfully poignant, but clean of their imagery and aspect.
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Extra info for Desdemona's fire: poems
I look long before the mountain crumbles, burns. I want to instruct them, say: Unfold the impossible bundle of messages before you, take each one, carefully, softly as though it may disperse into a cloud of dust, the fleeting stuff of moth wing, of your own breath only this morning. Smooth and unfold each until you have found in the center the white circle of a page, blank as the utterance of your own name. Swallow the whole thing, not a thing, and mean it. Page 51 Esu Speaks the Moon You may say the world bears my sacrifice in the wooded moment of a noon turned sour because the sky pretends she is really stark and cold, although we know in evening, she loves us without knowing our names.
The brine of her own birth presses into her with the sea smell of her mother, the large hands of her father seeming now like secret oysters opening, so that she reaches into the green fold of her own morning, past the silver darts of minnows, the lapped current of sun and water, wanting nothing. The bad breeze that whips into the noon time of desert dune. She flails the boat. She climbs aboard with her hands empty. Page 36 Asthma Stinking fish line the beach as far as I can see, both ways winding off in silver steps to an old tire and a rusty muffler whose stretch of pipe protrudes: the rough spine of a prehistoric reptile just now come up from the depths to breathe.
The quarters open up to them, white boxes with chimney stacks. A portal of dance, two black hands beat air. I have scratched my skin into bleeding spots and my mother dabs me pink, calomined and sleeping, as though pink can heal me. She puts me to bed in my cousin's room without my knowing how his hate will someday take me in sleep, a dry rhine of forgetting. My girl she says and folds me in, gives me back to darkness.