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Poems By K. Eltinae



I remember the moment when I knew for sure,
I sat gawking at your knees,
Jutting like fists,
Twin cabbages,
Two stubborn minds made up,
You were counting numbers,
Until my tongue slipped into a sea,
Of all the things you'd done for me,
The blame washed in and settled
I had used my last chance,
And your words could no longer save me.

I remember your quivering knees,
Like the knobs of two doors,
I listened to your moist hands,
Breathe and sweat,
Sans regret.

You have two hearts,
Who have never come to terms with each other.
They are wrapped in inches and inches of cabbage skin,
They are dangerously polar.
You've kept them apart
Auctioning each discretely,
But I am secretly afraid for you,
I hear them snap and lock,
Snarling, like the kept prisoners they are,
Your smile is growing less and less convincing
Nothing will save you from the floor.

I stare closely at your knees,
Willing their chambers free,
Once your last words descend,
I hear each of your hearts explode.
Your _expression is a picture,
Collapsing like a yielding tent,
The floor beckons to you.


I quit praying for rainbows,
The night I discovered you.
I let my worries fall to the ground
The way our clothes had.
Shed off layers of that oily skin of a past
And looked over your shoulder,
At a future I desired.

On the nights when you were away,
I packed away old doubts,
Hung their slippery silhouettes,
Silencing them with darkness.
They obeyed limp as bats.
As they slept, I waited.

I am counting your absence
Not in days, but rather by the pictures on the calendar.
This month there is a blonde girl smiling on her bicycle,

She mocks me like an angel.

I believe she knows more than I ever did.
Last week a neighbor brought me,
A stained glass rainbow,
I fastened to the window, but it refused to live
It shattered like beautiful icing,
I wanted to lick off the floor,
As I remembered,
The tenderness you caused.

Last night, I threw out the calendar.
I couldn't stand that smile another day,
The kind of smile that stretches across a face perfectly,
The dazzling sort that catches light.
As I turned over her smile in my hands

I found a rainbow.

I laughed for hours at her clever secret,
I taped it to the fridge.
People look at it funny,
Think it is collage,
It is just a way I like to remember.

The Translator

I never intended to get out of our bed,
And back into your world,
But I like taking chances,
You said I’d make a great translation,
But you were wide of the mark.

What do they call me in private?
Am I a parrot they mock?
You knew enough, but just couldn’t find the words.
They were hidden in those heavy books,
Between the typeset we couldn’t read.
My voice has the habit of talking to your bones,
I cannot control the secrets they disclose,
I just know, the price is heavy.

I became their knotted kite, caught on wire,
You and I, cannot educate the wind,
It has developed a habit with me.
But I am committed to this death,
That postpones, like a legend’s rise
This is the life I have dreamed of,
It should come as no surprise.

You won’t believe me, but
They’ll come alive again.
I’ll conjure their imperfections,
Till they’re bleeding, clean as teeth,
I will learn the way your living
And I will not be forgiving.
These soaps are foaming with calm,
This tub is balancing my weight,
And the froth you summoned.
You couldn’t translate the words,
But I never blamed you.

K. Eltinať is a twenty-two year old poet from Sudan, who has been writing from a young age. He has been recognized mostly for poetry, but is currently working on a novel titled "The Allumeuse" a masked autobiography, about accepting change and realizing self worth. The poems that appear at Chantarelle's Notebook are taken from his latest anthology titled "Identity Crisis" which is being published as the only anthology written in English by a Sudanese writer, as part of the Khartoum Capital of Arabic Culture (2005) Publications.



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