Poetry at Sangam



YESTERDAY’S TALES by Abdourahman A. Waberi

(Translated from the French by Nancy Naomi Carlson.)

the feminine lips of the tiger orchid
have nothing to hide
pitch-black night   everything sleeps   even silence
the bones of the past are here   visible in evening streets
laurels weep for their Daphne
Apollo is off chasing skirts in Abyssinia
go, drop anchor further away
leave the Eritrean Sea
for better skies
the bard equipped with a sword tells you
my land is poor   there is nothing for sale
black gold, rare wood, azure pearls?
nothing but wind   migratory winds—
mirages of water and dreams of herds
confidence in ourselves
evaporates like morning dew
sucked up by the eye of the sun
black often
pink from time to time
how far we’ve come from saying yes to abducting the coffin