In Kurnugi, the land
of the dead, men
grow feathers, eat
clay for bread, drink
dust, wait for spring,
wait for Ishtar
to shed each jewel,
even the garnet
of her own body.

Mississippi is like this,
a scorched dark country
where silence solidifies
like clay in a kiln. Time
glazes and cracks over
the cool black obsidian
of a crow, so dark
he glistens blue-green
to purple at the neck.

Rubies burn in
place of eyes, as I
spread my wings, ruffle
my emerald necklace,
open my gold encrusted
beak in an inaudible caw.

I tell myths, some
would call them rumors,
some memories. Others
whisper they are nothing
more than the desire to see
your silver bracelets fall,
to feel your cool breath ruffle
the feathers on my spine.

If you will enter
this nether world,
I will gather you
in soft plumage,
clothe your body
in silence.Together
we will drink water.
We will both revive.


Poetry Southeast literary journal southern poetry Chris Tusa

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