Poems by Meena Alexander


Question Time

June Air


June Air

All summer I wanted to hold tight

To what I felt was the truth-

A penurious thing.

All I had was our breath, an unsteady pulsing

With holes enough

For a swallow to fly through.

I remember one in our room

Hovering by the portrait of someone else's ancestors,

A girl skirts askew, eyes half shut,

Seated on a tricycle.

Behind her, hands cradling her shoulders,

A boy bruised by paint.

The bird swam by the gilt ceiling

Then startled, dashed itself against the window frame.

After the beating wings were done

Hills clarified in darkness,

Bits of light fell from the sky.

We watched not knowing what it all was,

The air hurting us into happiness

We never really thought was possible.

No compass to the sea. The sea is memory.

(Triquarterly Books / Northwestern University Press, 2013)






    Poetry Center Readings:

Spring 2014