Because We Know

by Reihana Robinson

Because we know you died here

You would think we would tread lightly
camouflage our gaiety our cups of tea
drink less, quit smoking

All ruptures must remain abstract

Should they open a maw, a fissure, a ravine
Should the ice just break apart empty chasms
Should your garments float to the surface

Your shoestring necktie, your mandolin,
your pointy hat your woven basket,
your perfumed skin, your flute, your knitting needles,
your harvested grain
The pastor the rabbi ignoring your swollen belly
the blackened bullet hole, the knife wounds, the
ownership of wanted land

Because we see how harsh the closing
how painful the suction
a throat clamped
We burn we anguish
we choke we screech


We fold to our knees we crumple
and the grass comes up sucking at our knees
with its loving green
We step back indentations softly realigning
We step back from the edge,
pour the tea, shake loose a cigarette,
strike a match

Because we know you died here
we uncross our arms, unfold your sheets
Place footsteps one and one and one
Pathway from the pyre, the burial ground,
the graveyard, the unmarked sites and in
to the clutter and clatter of life


Reihana Robinson has been published in the USA and Pacific. Auckland University Press published her collected poems as part of AUP New Poets 3 in 2008. Her first book of poems Aue Rona was published by Steele Roberts in 2012. You can visit her website here: 

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