How the Wind Works

by Alison Armstrong-Webber
The Waters
First Place, January 2019
Judged by Ruth Bavetta


Young boys in Maiduguri often test
how the wind works
by blowing themselves to pieces.

Aremu Adams Adebisi

*

And when they get to where they are going, the boys
bursting forth from within their own chests like flurries
of torn paper, or collapsible flowers – if the wind is
with them – does a lion lie down in the heart, then,
with a lamb? Is there time, for that emptiness

to shine wholly in splotches ripe as real berries
and for part of a shoe to be wet with something
like the wondrous, yearned-for rain? Can they see,
through the whisk of the wind’s borrowed trillion

eyes, how the universe was formed out of a perennial
blossom of light and an infinite mote of supreme
black,— how it all fits back together, red-black,
the pearl of splintered bone, the puzzle
of matter, and no matter.


I hardly know where to begin discussing this forcible poem. Tragedy with music. Surrealism that is realism. Beautiful images describing indescribable horror. A universe that sucks us in and repels us simultaneously. A song of beauty and wonder and death. --Ruth Bavetta

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