Cheetah Mother and CubsWhen the dusk comes,
my fingertips forget borders.

Give me countries.
Give me a thousand church bells
echoing in our floorboards.

Cats were once wild
until they tamed themselves.

Let me remember.
Let me walk behind myself
to the beginning.

Where is the village
of my mother’s mother?

There, where the wild cats roamed
among almond eyes and turmeric.

I paint my hands the color of their sorrow—
the wild cats crying.

The desert does not understand.
It is a language only eyes can hear.

Within this body—
the old darkness,
the old gods.

The small breath of belonging
crying, take me.


Photo “Cheetah Mother and Cubs” by David Olimpio used under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).