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Love Poem

— Janiru Liyanage

there was a song
                                                         a shrill of wing          a sky worth watching
a red horizon we touched
                                                         with our own feet     sitting at the shore
I think of how quickly
                                                         our gods fail us          kingdoms
always ruin          ecosystems
                                                         break down     a sea cracking like shells
I think of how we chased
                                                         after land the ocean claimed long
before us     I think of our
                                                         people     alive & gathered
by the river like
                                                         constellations          star-slick stories
perfect by never being told
                                                         we kiss the ground with our
foreheads     bowing
                                                         we pray          some memories haunt like wind
others ring like the sun
                                                         breaking through     pane after pane
of refracting glass
                                                         warm me this way
you’ve dreamt of the
                                                         apocalypse since you were a child
holding a scrap of flag
                                                         in the wind & then there goes the world
its slow & godless dying
                                                         we take turns digging our graves          we make
ablution & think of how
                                                         we won’t choose this small mouth of a
planet again          how our
                                                         new home will be     one belled
in cherubs     full of loose-
                                                         lipped hibiscus          enough rice
& goat to last an eternity
                                                         coffee in the freezer
in one world
                                                         I’ll keep your name hidden in my beak
in another     you glint
                                                         & roil in suffering like the ever-dying night
but in this one
                                                         we spin listlessly in a room with a shattered ceiling
the wild spilling in from
                                                         the gloaming sky          us     left beautiful with only
God watching     humming
                                                         to our own tender song          forgetting
how cruel we once were


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