Oct/Nov 2002 Poetry


by Shannon Bell

Artwork by Tara Gilbert-Brever



I am on a hill backlit by stars,
I am alone,
I am surrounded by the raw heat
of humanity:
the dancing girls, the dancing girls with
bells in their hair
and mud on their stamping feet;
but I am only watching,
only standing beneath a singing tree
my hair whipping into my face
as the wind calls my name
calls me into the half sleep
I have no word for.
Only the world blurring into
spinning colors,
the drums going on in my chest
rocking my body
shaking the world as if it were hollow,
or turning inside out
inside me.
As a child I knew a word for
rising-unfurling-becoming light
as a child I knew the words of true
Back then I still spent my days beneath trees
or more likely
up in their arms
But I have since forgotten the words, the particular
that translate transcendence into sound
but I still recognize my own pulse tripping
backwards past any sense of control
so that I am suddenly
and find myself upon waking
sitting in the dirt
on a hill backlit by stars
watching bonfires burn long into the night
watching women with painted bodies dance until dawn.


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