Listen to Paul Breslin read this poem.
I could swear it is saying my name,
a human voice full of pain and anger:
it's the police come to arrest me
for a crime so long concealed
I forget its name. Or my father's ghost,
crying he might have lived
had I loved him better. It's my mother
folding her arms and saying take your anger
someplace else, it doesn't belong to me;
my wife asking Is this good-bye then?
Or my daughter in childhood saying
hoarsely through tears, Dad,
how can you say that to me?
So many things were almost the end.
At the fire station around the corner,
the engines are pulling away.
So little to separate us
from the one the siren is for,
whose house flies into the air as cinders,
who lies on his bed turning purple and clutching his heart.
Paul Breslin is the author of You Are Here, and with Rachel Ney, a forthcoming translation of Aimé Césaire’s play, La Tragédie du roi Christophe. He teaches at Northwestern University.
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