Corona Radiata                                                                                                —Fady Joudah

To erase myself

quiet silent mute

cold shadow sun

river sea land

seize release expunge    

sound ear mouth        

I erase myself

clay fire light

sorrow meadow wild

drunk sober want

part splice plunge

word would world

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December evening, smoke in the rain, awn of the rain, from virga to drizzle, a glimpse of horses through large wooden doors, trunks immortal, a manège (which in Dutch rhymes with Malaysia), warmbloods in the training ring. Seven in a trotting circle spun up to a canter, motion sustained. Round and round twenty-eight hooves tap-dance twenty-eight lungs. All women riders. The da Vinci shoulders, breasts, thighs, fibers, fascicles. Foam in stalactites from equine jaws more exhausted than a crossroad. Steam rising to the roof. The sinews of their hearts. The women were one, horses one. For miles and miles rooted to the ring’s rail I rode along. (From one body to the next I crossed as in a single body the bridges are endless). The riders dismounted, led the horses to their stalls, drew vapor clouds idly away from the eye of the fugue. One rider stayed on her horse. Her smile held me. Her chest was still rising, falling, but when she spoke the air was well at ease. “How long have you been riding for?” she asked me. “I don’t know how,” I said. All the horses I never rode, their magnetic fields filled with souls of past riders and horses’ past souls, even the plastic ones I used to line up on the sill. “Oh,” she said. Though it’s conceivable she was asking me about something altogether different. My heart’s a doe’s. A doe’s made for running away.

photo: Cybele Knowles

photo: Cybele Knowles

Fady Joudah's fourth poetry collection, Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in the winter of 2018. His poetry and translations have received numerous awards.

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2017