Brief Words from the Coffin

  

The coffin is empty

the tulips on my belly unopened

I might as well die of boredom

the time has come

for me to utter

the words that had passed me by in life

Resting on my tongue is a pot-bellied bird  

Fields of scarecrows that multiply in the image

of all the men I have known

Resting on my tongue

are tanks the war had left in my courtyard

because I had abstained from wallowing in its fire

and all these flayed words, which mourners had plucked away

 

My corpse will be washed by strange women

who will turn my heavy flesh around

and glimpse my three tattoos

they will imagine my body on fire under the earth

and pity me, chanting…

“The hereafter…the hereafter…the hereafter…”

 

They will go out and shame me

“Crows the size of men gushed out of her holes

…bald crows… crows with their tongues cut…”

 

What afterlife my dear stranger?

I am still busy with the previous,

I have not let go of it to die

I have not heard Gabriel’s whistle,

not a trumpet’s cry,

nor a resurrection resurrected

Love had slapped me when I was still

tracing the depressions it had left on my face

my sleep was still brimming,

I, my dear stranger, don’t even lend my books,

so how can I lend my dreams? 

I am still not done with collecting my favourite photos and framing them

I will forget what they show If I don’t see them

Your God will ask me: what have your hands made?

I will reply: I have no hands.

Strange women put a spell on me with strange water

 

I have not learnt all of life’s lessons yet

I have not learnt how to heal the lame foot of my rancour

Or to hide from love’s slap like a straw from a blaze

How to smell the corpses of those slaughtered in massacres

without mistaking it for mine

I have not learnt how to feed the dogs of defeat

Before they sink their teeth in my neck

 

The crows will bury me because like them

I have never learnt how to walk

I ran until I collided with a massacre

and broke my nose

 

The hand of the strange woman is cold

Her palm forever sprouting feathers and caws

and in the background my own voice

speaking words about boredom.

 

 

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