Teen Young Adult

Ash by Sharan Strange

By Sharan Strange

Creation by means of Sonia Sanchez Winner of the 2000 Barnard New lady Poets Prize

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I am very hungry. I am incomplete. And none can tell when I may dine again. —Gwendolyn Brooks This page intentionally left blank First Sight A beginning and like a newborn you’re dazzled by sight. After fifty years a corridor is no longer a corridor, a window is solid, holds a picture like a movie screen. The doctors have undone a lifetime of darkness— for what? You still close your eyes, won’t turn on lamps at home. The city seems a mirage, dishonest with constant movement, or so shy it flattens into image, then shimmers.

His eyes are bright, sly, a little kind. They are young, still open, yet the intimation of all that was and is to come flares in that meeting. Convergence: woman, fence, gaze, man—a scene as transport. A moment as bubble in the wind of absolution. There is no absolute, he thinks, yet there she is, creator, indifferent almost, poised to join will to cause, and he, the seeker who lays down his things, who follows her. III. I am very hungry. I am incomplete. And none can tell when I may dine again.

We don’t know enough shame to go inside. No, we stand in plain view, pass the chalice, a tambourine, like gypsies, read the spectators, size them up. The fire in us let loose could consume this hell-bent world, this trick floor we believe in. Instead it rises out of us in song, mushrooming clouds of faith that cling to us like debt and sorrow. I watch you pass—brothers, sisters, with eyes that look scared, hard, closed and mysterious as the heart’s dark rooms. Your anguished faces mirror mine. I might be among you if I wasn’t fifteen and the preacher’s boy.

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