Stone, Bread, Salt

Stone, Bread, Salt

Holland Park Press
London
2018

80 pages

ISBN is 9781907320767

Available from Holland Park Press.

THE DISAPPEARED

THE DISAPPEARED

What makes us human is soil.
Even landfill of bones, shredded jeans;
mass graves paved over for parking.

What makes us human are portraits
— graduation, weddings —
mounted in house shrines and on fliers, Have You Seen?

Names inscribed around memorial pools
or incised on granite. Names waiting,
waiting for that slide of DNA, or any piece of flesh —
for the haunted to be put to rest.

What makes us human is soil.
To stare into a hole in the ground,
fill with the deceased, throw earth down,
place a stone. Bread. Salt.

For Fouad Mohammed Fouad

DIRECTIVES FOR MY FUNERAL

DIRECTIVES FOR MY FUNERAL
(…makes death seem the happiest thing to happen — Derek Walcott)

Wrap me in a shroud of white linen,
lower me straight into the ground,
throw down soil from the Holy Land.

Hold three memorial celebrations:
With Fairuz in Beirut carolling Kisses to the sea,
Janet Baker in Britain singing Elgar’s angelic

Where corals lie, and Patti Smith in America,
with A hard rain’s a-gonna fall (you’ll cry).

Serve enough food so anyone can come,
whether in jeans and tees or tux and gown —
And dancing!
*

I can’t be with you, ageless yet impervious
to customs and time, so putting you under
no obligation, joyous as such moments would be.

Recently I spoke with my ancestors
Oh, what did they say?
They said my only obligation was to be a good ancestor.