435: Inheritance

435: Inheritance

435: Inheritance

by Camille Rankine

                                                                                                                    What have I

                                                                                           To say in my wrong tongue

                                                                     Of what is gone   To know something is

                                                                    Lost but what   You have forgotten what

                                                                                                You long forgot   If I am 

                                                                       What survives   I am here but I am not

                                                                  Much of anything at all   To be what’s left 

                                                                                        And all the rest scooped out 

                                                                            And dropped into the sea   My flesh

                                                                                Forming a knot on itself is a habit

                                                              Learned from whom   A mind reaching back

                                                                             Into the dark a body releasing itself

                                                                                          Backward into space a faith

                                                                                 I have no prayer in which to keep

                                                                                        Am I home or merely caught

                                                                                    Between two unmarked graves

                                                                                               I’m saying where we live

                                                                                      It’s a mistake   A compromise 

                                                                                                          I’m made to make   

                                                                                                  I’m told come willingly 

                                                                               Halfway across a bridge to where

                                                                                         I’m halfway human   Or else 

                                                                                                       A door bricked over 

                                                                                                     Behind which all I am   

                                                                           To be shadow cast by shadows cast

                                                                                         By no one’s hand   And now

                                                                                           Whose fault am I   It’s said 

                                                                                              I stand against the grain

                                                                                Of natural law   A being in chaos

                                                                 In argument with itself   What would it be

                                                                    To be simply   I am here but what of me 

                                                                                               That’s gone stays gone

Used by permission of the poet.