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.
Do they leave together, the language and the last breath?
Maamwimaajaan ina Anishinaabemoyaanh miinwaa neseyaanh?
We gild our gory parts with peach and glitter
In scarcely fifty years the foxes turned by increments to dogs.
Sometimes you just have to die about it
Child upon child goes, and someone’s mother is no longer that.