“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

—MAYA ANGELOU

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I awake to hear the blow of the conch and the call of the rooster, the sounds of split wood crackling in the wood stove. The smell of fresh cedar lattice, beans and rice.

Red-winged blackbirds shrill cry—

Flying from cat-tail to cat-tail on the stillness of the pond.


A sea of faraway voices echo across the water,

chanting, singing, a baby crying


Wood-smoke, mold, and musty-smelling clothes,

Packed tight into hand-sewn bolster bags


My little brother sits in bubbles in a metal tub.

He splashes his golden smiles on the faded Persian rug,

While his mother braids his father’s hair and ties his sash.


By rosy cheeks, bright eyes, and cold bottoms,

We kneel on the floor and listen for the sound of

crackling oil, as the dough hits the cast iron.


Downstairs the big people sit cross-legged in a circle,

drinking hot coffee with milk and honey.

they read the Bible and stare into each other’s eyes, seeking oneness…


Clasping Zarah’s soft cold hand, I tromp through the mud carrying jugs of milk

towards the glow of the round white tent in the night trees.


Fluffy kitty and coyotes faint howl

By candle-wax and kerosene, casting shadows and laughter.


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