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Flying Home (For Pius)


I felt the wings of the plane

Rise like the spiral of the shell

Of the snail, and swirl, in the

Swollen clouds in Addis and plunge

To take my friend, the wayfarer, home.


In a clearing by a rock promontory

They could only gather shards, fragments

Of lives and a dust mushroom

That spooled as the crow flies.


I have flown too in both time and

Tide to see the sun rise, from the bowels

Of that same pressured tube –

A whale that crosses, not the waters,

But the open sky of the globe –


Where we trot, pretending to know

How the petrified waves repeat,

Or how long her compassion can last

Before a wing can break from the


Condor whose flight this winter

In the sky’s shade of violet and

The tricolour of the rainbow falls like lilacs

From their branches. And I go rolling


In that iron pit flying the sign

Of the maple leaf with its three-fingered

Blade saying: “fuck-you!”

As I hide inside Neruda’s Book of Questions.


I was flying home from the coast

To coast through the Sahara desert

I thought I saw the languid Limpopo flowing

From just a glimpse when a light was forged.


And I asked, like Neruda:

“If I make honey, will it offend

The bees?” A goddess lives in the moon

And I, horny bastard, want to squeeze her.


Then she summoned a committee to ask:

“why is sadness so solitary?”

What do the lions and lionesses do where

They now live off the grid in Little Rock


Far from the hills of Nsukka: do you know

That place? This dream place where the

Dignity of man cannot now be restored if

Ordinary poop-houses have no windows or water


To wash our sins away. Such thoughts

Drove me to exile. And there, in the

Warm fold of blankets wrapped on me

By a kind hostess on Air Canada, I thought


Of this day, when the butterfly fell to the

Flyfish which, in the end is, fate that awaits

Us all who have longed to write letters

Across the sky to the homeland.


And where that space ends

Is infinity. The endless stretch

As we break the sky’s hymen

With a quick thrust from Toronto to Orlando.


What do the leaves of Spring say here?

Christmas is in the air: a great time

To kick up the dust, but not kick the

Bucket: and this night is not different


It is just indifferent; a little quiet; glum even:

A warm glow of the candle burns as I ate my

Birthday cake, and just dessert, silently

I am born again to my duties –

And to a new year that cuddles a pandemic.


Date: December 24, 2021

LitWrite Bangladesh is a blind peer-reviewed online biannual journal published by AstuteHorse

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