Sunday, August 1, 2010

Tiel Aisha Ansari

Inheritance. I wasn't raised to call
myself Black, Indian, Chinese--
"You're human," said my parents. That was all.

By the west window sits a Chinese camphor chest
folded full of blankets and grandmother's dresses.
Tiny Chinese bones she had. They'll never fit me
but the fabric's pretty.

Atop the chest: a set of Mali drums.
Oh yeah, I play the djembe... some...
My father's folk, in distant history--
you understand, that link is lost to me.
All I have now is echo.

Improvisation. On the eastern wall
a saxophonist plays. Black, yellow, red his clothes.
His notes escape the frame and fall
like water on imaginary ears. He's got good roots.
The cross-bred tree grows tall.

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