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Manoa 14.2 (2002-2003) 221

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Naomi Long

[Home Spheres]

They say, I came with the stinging
    nettles caught in her hem as she
    fled the burning village

They say, I came with the splitting rain
    as she sat on a stone in a cold wait

They say, I came with Siberian gusts
    that rushed through her ribs as she
    passed the city gates

They say, I came with the sharp
    mulberry wine she served to men
    brassy at the bar

They say, I came with tears when a
    man she refused beat her into
    dampness and deeper resolve

They say, I came with an American
    soldier who braided her hair, then
    roped us both across miles of
    swollen water

They say, I came reluctantly like a
    frozen bud that prefers to sleep for
    centuries before waking

They say, I came with rootless feet that
    stray toward unfamiliar territories

They say, I'm from nowhere in
particular, a roving accident

I'm at home among sand dunes routed
    by winds, the parched scent of
    black persimmons




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