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Between Kisar and Makassar
By Joel Vega

Here, no single bird takes the lead,
no wings in unison,
no silent schools of fish
flash silver together.

We wish we knew how to dream
as a people, to dare name
the deeper hues of ocean flowers:
firebrick, saddle brown,

dark slate gray of Pacific seas,
howling as if wind hides between our lips
or in pirate coves where waves burst
into hungry bees.

Here, the tattooed body swallows
the midday sky, and the ribbed chest,
part ocean, part lung,
hums the tenderness of wires.

Here, we begin with hues of terra firma.
Burly wood, cadet blue, peru .
Thistle, we give for trespassing,
white smoke, for surrender,

apple white, for ripened fruits.
We shiver before fear exists
like small animals
that quietly go to sleep.

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Between Kisar and Makassar

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