Thursday, March 10, 2016

Joyelle McSweeney

Sestina Ayotzinapa

Never a grave large enough, never a grave large enough
Never enough powder to ladle over the face of the grave
Never enough pine boughs to go sweeping and 'soughing'
Never enough time to make a throat for all the vowels
Never a wide enough mouth to crunch around the bones of the bird
Never enough digestive juices to leach the crime from the bones of the earth

For I am not the earth.
Never a laugh shallow enough
Never a crater on the moon blank enough for the bird
of guilt to settle. Never enough grave
maidens to prop up their chins on the Bridge of Sighs
Which is a euphemism for their exposed collar bones, release the vowels

Of the grave, the long vowels
Of flora stinking in their cells and rising up as garlands from the earth.
Never a lie like a truncheon or a sigh
nightblack or diaphanous enough
it cannot find its ear to crunch. Never a birdy
hunch that cannot find a kernel of the brain

In which to lie-or hide. Never a drain
Punched in the bowels,
Never a drug patch, never a morphine feed its unstuck button a spirit level a bird
Called 'hop-o-my-thumb' to gerry-rig up an earthy
jig as it tips its board bound body into the brine. Never enough
waves to disperse the ashes. Never enough sighs.

The crime happened but it wasn't genocide
The bodies were heaped in the grave,
but it forgot to inflorate with stains, with student i-d cards, dental records, enough
DNA to light up Googlemaps with a green pharmaceutical smile
across the face of the earth
a grin for the school photo. The Junior Varsity Ayotzinapa Birds

Rise in flock
From the earth ... Which is a lie. But something sighs
From their rotting absence which stains the face of earth
Like a pale palm raised at the wrong moment when light engraves
The film with light and as white light blinds the eye of the owl
which is Wisdom, the Huntress moon. Also white. Enough

Wisdom for tonight. Enough sighing, vows, birds, earth.
If the birds have mercy, they'll close their wings around the moon
and allow us to sleep together in our common grave.

Joyelle McSweeney

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