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|  REINCARNATE

 
  I was born the son of an Egyptian
shit collector. I don't remember the details.
Maybe in dreams: hands push
boar bristle brushes that sweep the trash
into the central gutters of the road.
I took on his trade
after he was crushed by an enormous
pyramid block breaking its moorings.

There was another time I was born
as a Norwegian, swept overboard
at fifteen, no moustaches yet,
on the way to conquer the Scots.
Still have dreams of lungs filling with water.

I was the son of a Chinese peasant farmer,
and starved to death
after the crops failed, after
the weather reared
its unpredictability, moved on.
No one with memories of me, or grief.

Another time I butchered small babes
and their mothers, as I swooped
from the skies riding gold chariots
into the breast of India.

I screamed through blood.
I was many stillbirths. And now,
here I am, the son of a stationery salesman,
who was the son of a Polish barber,
in our lineage of lust. The rest
I can't recall.


from Forever the Last Time
Wolsak & Wynn
2004
Copyright © Jim Slominski