Volume 4 Fall '08

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Dawn on the Fall Equinox
*
Persis M. Karim

This morning, I lay beside
my son, listening to his breathing,
finding comfort in the soft bulbs
of his hands, opening
like poppies
at first contact with sunlight.

What those other boys
in that place where we’ve unleashed
war, are thinking, I cannot say.
Theirs is a life punctuated by
the ratta-tatt-tatt of bullets,
the mud-green of uniforms,
and corpses of bombed out cars.
Waking at dim first light,
cannot be like this. Soft, sweet—
the certainty of their mother’s
Breath against neck and hair.

Here, in this dream-state,
I can only think of dressing,
feeding him, his smallness.

I don’t like this early darkness,
the falling leaves, the raking,
which once provided a kind
of order—
reminds me of death
somewhere else.

How will I explain this to him?
In these hummed hours
before he speaks my name,
I pretend to have a truth
that turns darkness into light.


*A version of this poem appeared in Caesura: The Journal of Poetry Center, San Jose, Fall 2005.

Persis M. Karim was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Burning Bush Poetry Prize, 2008 for Dawn on the Fall Equinox.


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