After the Dead Visit at Night

Kirsten Hemmy

Sometimes giggles

doors slam


once your heart stops

mid-dream &


you feel it

she presses your chest


his hot breath across

your cheek


pages turn

you are not alone.


Everything & nothing

simulacrum


of

reminders


they were here.

Shower.


Make dua.

Leave them


your stories.

Light blue


dream almost

creeps


across the room.

It is vast as


the Atlantic,

hull of a ship,


historical cargo.

Handbags, humans,


accoutrements of

colonial monsters


predecessors

to capitalism


dreams sinking

into sand


forever

a heaviness


that can

never be undone.


You are the ghost

of all the ancestors:


vomit-blood-feces

of what was made


then dismantled

ashes of disregard.


Repository of

silence. A silence


so quiet as to be

unremarkable.


Nights are routine

for you now—


they make noise

because they want


you to listen.

Eventually,


the adhan

of a foreign land.


Voices scurrying,

morning prayer,


& daylight

crawls back in.



Glossary:

dua – prayers

adhan – call to prayer


Kirsten Hemmy’s first book, The Atrocity of Water, was a Tom Lombardo selection (Press 53, 2010). Her work has recently appeared in CaKe, The Alaska Quarterly Review, Antiphon, Compose Journal, Glass, The Comstock Review, and elsewhere. A featured TedX speaker and former Fulbright Fellow, Hemmy teaches creative writing and poetry at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman.