Photo by Clark Van Der Beken on unsplash
What You Are and What Is Yours
The land is being lifted and dropped,
torn slowly by the winter.
The mills run along the river,
killing the water giving life to this city,
town, village life that never stops for a breath.
Here the smell is what unites us;
it's on our skin, our coats, his soft mouth,
and his thick black curls.
Home, he will know
this place as home.
The five-month winter
will be to him as the monsoon
was to his father's father.
A time for the earth to be covered
and made to rest. A time
to gently count what you are
and what is yours.
On Sundays I use a thermometer
to know that the water is not too hot
or too cold. I lower his unbruised
brown body onto mine.
I breathe deep and slow,
watching the puddles shrink and grow
on his back. Counting the beats
of his egg-sized heart
as he loosens into sleep.
The river is frozen, and the fish
have changed, and no one will eat them anymore.
In a few years I'll take him skating there.
The ice will furrow beneath our blades,
and we will stop and drink
sweet chocolate from a thermos
in green paper cups.
And I will tell him of the long, brown Indus,
the lions that hunt in the Great Desert of Thar,
the silk and spice caravans, the merchant ships of Sindh,
and the fat rain that falls there
in the summertime.
And how we ran away out of love
for our own lives.
And how we've changed in this frozen land
so that no one will want
to kill our tribe.