Dreaming, Kashmir 

From Folding a River
Marick Press
$14.95, 51 pp.


There are words on your tongue I have considered embracing, a landscape
of water and stone. Yesterday, I dreamed of you in another language

and felt the vertigo of Kashmir, a singular gesture of not finding
my footing upon the edge of this page. As a scientist’s daughter I have
these notions

that gravity means more to the dead than the dying. What holds us here
is not flesh, but the words beneath, when water was simply a sound.


What living does to the lesser is this: lends us luminous;
before ebbing into the far reaches of exotic, these echoes

of my Michigan exile call me back to the beginning of my home
land’s original tongue.


I am falling inside the metaphor of another, a country
to call home. In your name, I have come to ask my ancestors, the word
for attachment in Kashmiri. As you read the following,
my footpath will have already shifted
to the other side of the mountain.
Mountain says to Sky; myth is a vehicle of departure
from the weight of being human.


Today I learned there is no word human in Kashmiri. It seems
There is no place
in our language for failure. These margins of error are steep enough for
the light falling
from a woman’s face after a man lends a thousand sadnesses
to her. In dreams, the gesture is returned as a calligraphy of cranes.


I long to believe being human holds more than the potential
of taking flight from another’s hand. I know a man near the coast
who translates the gravity of loss between white space. I have drawn
the distance
of his name as a line of birds, lifting
from these words.

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