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Dec 2015
To these Babylonians
Oh father, and I am a child of Abraham
Daughter of salt and desert
Daughter of the sun blazed beige dream mountains
Who roll together like sleeping dinosaurs
In the archives of my memory.

To these Babylonians
And I have withheld from them my true name
For their tongues are not fit to pronounce it
Written in black stardust across my ankle
Branded like the wandering sheep
In the blue hills drowning in yellow gnats and cloud.

My father taught me how to survive
By the seaside the shore was covered in
Transparent jellyfish and dark ocean weeds
Abraham inhaling foamy salt waves
Preaching black oil, blood and fire

Preaching this, Babylonia
When foreign lands resemble home
When homes revert to foreign land.
When earth and sky and water do not remember you
When you do not remember them
Singing still in the salty undertow
Treble clefs caked in the cracks of my bones
Barefoot fire altar, sticky sunbeam fractures
Progeny of Abraham
Singing sacrifice
Stolen seconds folding themselves into eternity.

To these Babylonians
And I am a child of Isaac
Violin strings shouting with the river
Jacob whispered all rivers and all rivers
Flow to Rome
And all salt water tastes of home
Find me in the poison current of the obsidian ocean
Jellyfish seaweed and petroleum-slurred sands
My father Abraham sang many songs.
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, β€œSing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land?
Psalm 137: 1-4
Ariel Baptista
Written by
Ariel Baptista  Montreal, Quebec
(Montreal, Quebec)   
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