I forgot where Dibon was. Forgot
where Edom was. Barefoot I crossed rivers
Arnon and Nimrim. My feet made sounds
the banks had never heard. And twice
if I remembered my father
I didn’t know what to do with my heart.
Or with the Phoenician tongue,
my Moabite Kingdom: I carried it
already broken, persistent
inside me, the hunger
of dogs. At night in my makeshift bed
under the junipers, Canaanite winds
were plucking the leaves off branches
like tongues they tasted the world
tasting like ash; like the old country
that kept spinning itself around the mind—
a knitted blanket: the limestone hills and barren
plateaus, the youngest ewe
and nursing through winter, the snow kept falling
even in spring. How the four old women
who raised me returned each night, knitting around
in my voice to warn me
against my inappropriate heart.
But the heart, she kept turning and turning
my feet against the trees’ difficult roots.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 1.
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