Weekly Feature: Poetry at The Arts Fuse
Welcome to “Poetry at The Arts Fuse.” A new poem, every Thursday.
The Boat: April 19, 2013
After The Battle of Alfuente (Eloah oz ve’el ayom venora) an autobiographical poem by Samuel HaNagid (993-1056), also known as Isma’il ibn Naghrela
Waiting at the finish line with water
and towels and laurels for the twenty-three thousand
who ran out, confident, in the morning and
were flushed like wild birds from the field.
Heads swiveled to the east as if to prayer,
faces blackened like the bottoms of burnt skillets
as the Forum rocked on its pillars, blown to litter,
the injured prostrate on asphalt carpets.
Docked far from the ocean’s mouth
bereft in a place whose name is water
I conceal the young hyena
whose blood flows sticky like his brother’s.
With a pen of iron he marks my belly
in the curve of my hull we are one body
you hurt one you hurt us all
I don’t like killing innocent people
I was his shroud to filter light
the unsprung trap to hold him
the cradle to bring him to his grave
the pit where his crimes would follow.
But the chopper with its whirling rotors
could read his alphabet of heat
a hot wick smudging my gleaming lantern:
sheltered, each of us, in place.
Debra Cash, a Founding Contributing Writer and member of the Arts Fuse Board, is finishing The Bumblebee’s Diwan: Poems Along the Path of Spain’s Golden Age, where this poem will appear.
Note: Hey poets! We seek submissions of excellent poetry from across the length and breadth of contemporary poetics. See submission guidelines here. The arbiter of the feature is the magazine’s poetry editor, John Mulrooney.
— Arts Fuse editor Bill Marx