PIYP Day 2019: Adebe DeRango-Adem


O Sea of Troubles We Did Not Take Arms Against

by Adebe DeRango-Adem


for many moons we were complete                          like a single river
how beautiful we drifted                                                                          & how delirious
were the times we pretended not to bear                              the thirst
of a hollow earth                                                          as such perhaps we were
not a river but a collection        of                                            rapids & yet those pangs
a clever mix of love                                         & fear of the real
a longing                                                                        soon to transform
into a longing to disappear somehow into the familiar
softening, from the dusts of the                                              world
skylines—do you remember                                                    how we slept
in mangled ways                                                                        looking out to the Atlantic
being in our element                                     but no I will not spend my life
wading waiting                                                                                         wading
the answer is that                                                                                     I have arrived with scars
to haunt or to be haunted
.               is the question


Previously published in The Unmooring (Mansfield Press, 2018).

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Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer and former attendee of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (Naropa University), where she mentored with poets Anne Waldman and Amiri Baraka. She is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Ex Nihilo (Frontenac House, 2010), which became a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize, Terra Incognita (Inanna Publications, 2015), which was nominated for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, and The Unmooring, published in 2018 by Mansfield Press.