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Poem: Either Be a Mountain or Lean on One*

by Josephine Rose

Tubular light blackens
English panes
A trail of tangled jewels


I rush home
donning dusty thunder stench


Looks never set to dry.


(How often we forget
that our seasons,
though erratic, are not static.)


Another land,
so far from here,
Sounds fairytale;
No heavy air, fresh fall
No merciful puddle
The reverse occurs:
Nothing grows.


There is a moment before she plucks at leaves,
(left like relics to trick
her belly – which despite the lack still believes
it will all come back).
She remembers the old saying:
Either be a mountain or lean on one;
Each season
Hope defying reason.


But over here our hills are green
And in these parts we do not like to lean.


I fear the mountains are too far apart;
And before the rains end here (or over there re-start)
We – none of us – are poised to stretch, to grasp, to reach
Before the loss is not just crops or health or home
But heart.

*Somali proverb