Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Duty to Retreat

Comfort is a narrow bed in the wide world.
The Middle East has decided
to roll her dreaming husband to the floor,
where he can keep his air-crowns if he pleases.
It’s just bruises. Much

of the world sees only the woman
stretching sunned hands for the first time,
and feet, like a flesh-star spread on the ocean floor.
They dedicate songs

of congratulation and trumpet cries
to newborn freedom, wailing first-breath cry.
Divorce is legal in cases

of sexual immorality
(in some translations: uncleanness, broken faith):
a curb to shelter broken women,
oft stoned, until the mystery-finger
writing with downcast eyes in Palestinian dust

appeared. Maybe I don’t know what comfort is.
Or maybe, after all, the ancient woman,
stretched arms expanding each and a broken rib,
is happy forgetting her dreaming and
broad-fisted king.