Elegy with a Blue Wing
When the time arrived for revolution, our hands bloomed white
with carnations. The man with the steel and the man
with the machete stripped sugarcane from stalks
and sat like children to gnaw the fiber. The sun gave up
the earth and the world as we knew it ended not in fire
but in the midnight darkness of a winter road.
We accepted this; a land without light excited us.
We used our tongues to taste the embered air and our shoulders
with no armor to know the wind's direction.
We walk the length of the forest without you, though some nights
you're beside us and again we're showering in summer light
and again we're lying our bodies across a field
of dead leaves in autumn. I wish I could show you
how good I've become at counting to ten by tapping my fingers
against hip bones when rain pounds the wickered dark.
I know how to breathe underwater now. I know what's beyond
the wish we had for a changed world. In my solitude I'm free
to remember you. Some days the memory aches like spice
on the heart's drum; some days it's a blue wing, lifting.
BY BRYNN SAITO
Brynn Saito is the author of the poetry collection The Palace of Contemplating Departure, winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award and forthcoming from Red Hen Press (March, 2013). Her poetry has been anthologized by Helen Vendler and Ishmael Reed; it has also appeared in Ninth Letter, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Pleiades and Drunken Boat. Brynn was born in the Central Valley of California to a Korean American mother and a Japanese American father. Currently, Brynn lives in the Bay Area and teaches in San Francisco.