Belief as an Ocean Landscape (Emerging Writer’s Contest Winner: POETRY)

Issue #138
Winter 2018-19

From you, I was born, my body

an isosceles triangle made

with two equal

sides of longing:

what is given and what is prayed for,

these pining lengths

yoked together by the latitude

of a risen country

I have never visited.

I imagine the view from the ocean

is your body, and your body

is the tree struck down,

because it is true that we are kingdoms

born already holding the things

we love, the things which

will unmake us.

When I was young, I only knew

your nation of towers, every

holy pinnacle

a wild deer to marvel at.

I prostrated before the wind,

ya ali, ya ali, ya ali…

but now how the ocean dips

next to Swahili coast, revealing

the flatlands, revealing how belief

is also a plot of land

on which we create

the ruminants we love.