"Bombs Rock Cairo"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
April 7 2009 6:36 AM

"Bombs Rock Cairo"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Christian Wiman read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes..

The bumps and hush, the little furtive rustlings
that half-woke me last night wake me now
…………………………………........................…………….as the goateed cheeseman
tells me his son's tongue is pierced
…….........(gleams, pungencies)
slicing with strong displeasure Sardinian Gold.

And that initial chill before I knew going again like a dew
through me as I walk down the dogrun
……………………………………...................……...where the birdlady
wielding with bad English and old bread
pigeons like a single sinuous body
stretches out her arms and, amid descending wings
and low moans, stands completely still:

drunk kids crawling into the unlit alcove
to smoke and fuck in the small hours.

……………………………...................……………..Tenuous the hold
she has on them, furious the need she knows
will bring them always eventually within her reach,
a fire of eyes and appetite whipping around her knees
settling fluttering along each outstretched arm
as if to lift her out of this life.

I could almost hear my heart beat …

Palm trees and eucalyptus, the salt breeze and palpable clouds,
a siren somewhere dying on the mild air
as I head up my street
……………….............………….where the runner pauses,
pearled as if she's spent the night outside,
fine dunes in her legs as she leans
to read the headlines.

.

Christian Wiman's most recent book is Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet.

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