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Requiem

BY SAFWAN KHATIB
 

Columbia University, '19
2015 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors List

 

1

I do not meet him 
    in a dream. We are wading
in some kind of rivulet.

& we cant leave 
    even if we
want to run off

for awhile    only to come 
     back. I ask the boy
why he refuses to swim

or if he has ever thought, 
   when tired, to swallow
forever what stops

our imagining the field:
    not water
itself but current –

or a broken clock
   hung on a swirling cliff
too far behind me to see.


2

   His eyes give him away.
The boy believes he has
   swallowed not current

(or clock) but the thriving 
   field we cant
even dream.

     He is wrong,
there are
    no more

fields 
   of harvest here;
here is sick  

   & weeping. I
tell him this
  until I am spinning

within him, lifting
   away the glassy
folds of his stomach.


3

   Angry at the familiar
emptiness of him I leave 
  like a haunting – or like wind

from a fan. I wade 
    again   alone now
& the current (not a clock now)

  speaks nonsense.
Why do 
  I hear 

   the current speak if I
have never heard it before? 
   But the current

does not speak. You –
  you are speaking
and boy and rivulet, 

   one, are sprawled
out as my body over a blank 
   or blooming field.


4

You are speaking. 
   Soon   soon nobody
will be     

     speaking loud enough
anymore.

 

 

Safwan Khatib is from Indianapolis, Indiana. His poetry, prose, dramatic scripts, and academic research have been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the Indiana Repertory Theater Young Playwrights Competition, and the MIT Inspire Humanities Competition, among others. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014, and will be moving to New York in the fall.