Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SIBLINGS OF A GRAYER SKY, by NAVEED ALAM

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

SIBLINGS OF A GRAYER SKY, by                    
First Line: I had a sister, a sun, a sky
Subject(s): Sky

I had a sister, a sun, a sky
a field of giant sunflowers.
Blue, orange, green, yellow

all swallowed up by the smoke
rising from the distant chimneys.
A sheet of motionless gray fell

over my field of rippling yellow.
I thought I could restore the colors
by kissing my sister like they did

in that one black and white movie.
"You may kiss," said my sister,
"But only after you bring home

the innocence of fleece that grows
between the eyes of the lambs."
I nodded and followed the stars

to the unspoiled northern pastures
dotted with daffodils and dahlias.
On the night of a hundred moons

I reached a foreign neighborhood:
neat rows of houses, mowed lawns,
a car in every driveway, and the sound

of an occasional midnight quarrel.
I was weary like the stars. Sitting
on a curb I waited for the dawn.

The dawn didn't come, but came
my sister tip toeing like a ballerina,
barefoot, hair all tangled, holding

a needle and a thread. I hugged her.
"Sheep all slaughtered," she whispered,
as if not to perturb the silent moons.

"I'm trying to make your rakhi bracelet
but the petals all spattered with blood."
She tip toed back to the red poppies

when a blond little boy appeared
wheeling a worn wooden penguin.
He chirruped like a bird pointing

to the moons and then to his toy.
He looked on expectantly, and I --
I was scrambling for words, for

the fading vowels of childhood.
Was he asking me to paint his toy
with the fabulous colors of the moons?

Perhaps my sister could've helped, but
she was out there on strangers' lawns
searching for the unblemished petals.

Prairie Schooner is a literary quarterly published since 1927 which
publishes original stories, poetry, essays, and reviews. Regularly cited in the
prize journals, the magazine is considered one of the most prestigious of the
campus-based literary journals.

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