after Agha Shahid Ali’s “Arabic” At springtime—Persian new year—we circle around the warmth of bonfires to chant, Give me your color, take back my sickly pallor. There is rebirth in this language. A groom exchanges vows with his Persian bride in a foreign tongue.
The summer populations of flying insects/have fallen by more than 80 percent/in the past quarter century. This fact/is a fact I can’t think of very long.
At her back, the sword. At her feet, the ravine./Impossible to advance. To turn back. Impossible.
Nostalgia doesn’t melt like water underfoot
doesn’t climb on the back of a horse
to be carried far from our hearts
Anne Carson’s poem, “Shot List,” first appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review in 2005. We revisit “Shot List” today, in honor of Anne Carson’s birthday.
“The day we left the pineapple fields /Mother cried.”