Michelle Holmes

Michelle Holmes is at Stanford on a one year fellowship, and has the chance to do a great deal of poetry writing under the guidance of former Stegner Poetry Fellows. She is the editor of two daily midwest newspapers.

Lion Mountain shadow

Here is what she knows
for sure about Salone:
It is Africa.
They dig blood
diamonds there.
They say Padi, my friend;
Tek tɛm, be careful;
Girl, titi.
They are uncovered
often, when they travel
on the dirt roads.
And beautiful.
She’s not sure
just how to name this.
So much changes
in translation.
Not Man. It means
Man, he told her.
There are these
universal kind
of rules.
                   …
It is more complicated
when I ask her what
she wonders.
This page does not
have so many lines.
Where does that kind
of heat blow past midnight?
When does Freetown stop
beckoning, one
hand calling, calling?
What do they want,
these uman walking
with baskets tangled
in their hair?
Love, likely, to begin with,
I don’t tell her.
A warm mɔt.
We do not speak of it.
How could we?
We, who hardly say
the English words
for bedroom things.
                 …
In the sixth week
She tells me she is
dreaming in the daytime.
It is midnight there.
In the kitchen,
the cooking has been done.
They might be emptying
the last coals;
it is dark, north of the equator.
He says the Internet is down.
Here, in Indiana April,
the sun goes down more slowly.
The scent is not mysterious.
You breathe flowers
when you want to.
Hyacinths can nearly
knock you over
in a vase beside the door.
There, in April, I imagine  
you must look up more.
There’s nothing for your fingers
to be typing all the time
The connection isn’t good.
You can see the sea.
Besides, the roads are full
of things to have.
Let  your eyes take
Something, Man.
Cheap!
Koknat and yabas
and some bred, duya
There are people everywhere.
                                 …
Here, it’s just us
at the table.
But she whispers.
I am his Wef
My skin is saf

I can’t answer.
I don’t speak
Krio. It is all
too far away.

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