by Babo Kamel
It’s an ambush
of fireburst, breeze-buzzed
and ravenous for something nameless.
You can smell it on the skin. A residue of ash and marl.
The umber rises from within, forms a permanent dusting.
The birds try to teach us each morning
but all we do is thrash the air with our fire-
damaged wings. Oh we could fly once, skirt
the lies camouflaged as prayer. But we’ve grown
ground-tied and tired. Listen, we cannot surrender.
Everyone looks the same under the red sea.
Even the little ones, branded before they can walk.
Their small fists rise on the shoulders of their fathers.
Something must change. Our beaches
are littered with the moonless gasp of fish.