- Crescent Moon Sequence
• “Crescent Moon”
• “Somali One”
• “The Child and War Still”
• “Solstice” [End Page 55]
The young one quick as flintBaba calls her “Moon”Ume says her eyes were opendark wide and bright as hot coalsat birth determined to keep upBut I am the older oneand it was me she was followingas usual with the bigger children searching for food scraps maybe something sweet tossed out in the rubbishwhen the land mine explodedher little bodyinto blood red butterflies. [End Page 56]
Body memory beyond time. San say good rains walk like a woman, her skirts her hips, soft steady sweeping.
Thirty days and nights a veiled woman walks in search of sanctuary. Stillness a dull ache in her chest a slip of moon often the only light on her path soldiers war drought famine barking at her heels.
Bad rains are a bull. A muddy refugee camp.
Typhoid. Cholera. Hurdling the rubble of what once was Mogadishu glassy eyed young men with military weapons an airport to this bus stop and a housekeeping job
baby in arms
somewhere in America. [End Page 57]
The baby came home todaynow free, the doctors say, of the virusthat killed her mother, her father, the people of her village.Who will carry her, I wonder, and what will we tell her when she can askwhat has happened? [End Page 58]
the child and war still
“Why do we hurt each other?” “Fear.” “Fear of what?” “Ourselves.” [End Page 59]
In the dream I turn a corner and find a funeral procession coming toward me in an alley so narrow I must press my body against a stone wall to give way to the tall brown skinned and somber pall bearers carrying the coffin of a young woman its opening covered with felt flowers of many colors. I am not sure where I had been heading but, in the dream, I join the mourners. [End Page 60]
A summit on climateas the heaviest rains in one hundred years raise the sea level until it devours allthe houses in our villageIguana prowl among mushroomsEach day more warthan ever brother against brother and the US military announces that womencan now participate “fully” in all aspects of fightingWater up to our necksour long arms heavy as clay. [End Page 61]
Winter sky—a slipof moon lights the way through thesethe darkest nights. [End Page 62]
gale p. jackson, poet, writer, storyteller, cultural historian, interdisciplinary humanities scholar, and librarian, is the author of Put Your Hands on Your Hips and Act Like a Woman: Song, Dance, Black History and Poetics in Performance; MeDea, A Novella; Suite for Mozambique; Bridge Suite: Narrative Poems Based on the Lives of African and African American Women in the Early History of These New Black Nations; and A Khoisan Tale of Beginnings and Ends. Her work has been performed, exhibited, presented, and anthologized widely, appearing in numerous collections and journals, including The African American Review; Freedomways; Journal of Black Studies; American Voices; Callaloo; Tribes; and Artist and Influence, Ploughshares and Essence. She edited the Collaborative Voice: Art in a War Time anthology (CollaborativeVoice@Goddard.edu) and co-edited the Art Against Apartheid: Voices for Freedom collection. She facilitates the Ehecatl Olin Learning Studio and the Poet in the House Collaborative, with New York City middle school students, serves as a professor on the graduate faculty of interdisciplinary arts at Goddard College, and has been awarded an NEH fellowship for her work in griot traditions.