Sand by Patrick Sylvain12 Oct 2017, Posted by Poetry in
I’ve searched for my father’s face in the sand.
You raised your left arm. A fine veil of golden
Sand on your forearm. You smiled, and sang
A song about stones & bones, or bony like stones.
You moved. A cascade of sand tried to reunite
As the sun shone on a circle of sand around
Your shy belly button. Its head like a serpent
With an unspoken tongue—memories sealed.
Salty fluid, closed mouth. We are a part of this
Wet and rocky world, where, sometimes sand
Gets in the eyes and stings like a loss etched
In the marrow of love, of belonging, of needing.
Your body, wet and salty, and your belly is invaded
By sand. I brushed off that temporary colony.
You smiled as my fingers follow rivulet-like lines.
Those golden stretched lines are memories of womb.
Our son, giddy in the sand, bathed in the salty fluid.
My father’s face etched on his, sedimentation of genes.
Our silent dialect is of happiness and loss tremors
That broke the amniotic sac—you gripped the sand.
About the Author:
Patrick Sylvain is a poet, writer, social critic, and photographer. Published in several scholarly and creative anthologies, journals and reviews, including: African American Review, Agni, Allegro Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, Anchor Magazine, Callaloo, Caribbean Writers, Transition, The Savannah Review, Dirty Chai, Ploughshares, SX Salon, Vallum Contemporary Poetry, Haiti Noir, International Journal of Language and Literature, Human Architecture, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. Sylvain’s academic essays are anthologized in several edited collections, including: “The Idea of Haiti: Rethinking Crisis and Development,” edited by Millery Polyné; “Politics and Power in Haiti,” edited by Paul Sutton and Kate Quinn; and “Haiti Noir” edited by Edwidge Danticat. Sylvain received his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, in Political Science and Social-Psychology, and earned his Ed.M. as a Conant Fellow from Harvard University Graduate School of Education; and was also a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow at Boston University Creative Writing Department where he earned his MFA. He has taught at several universities, including Brown (where is affiliated with Africana Studies), Mass/Boston (Anthropology) and Harvard (AAAS). Sylvain is pursuing a Ph.D. in English at Brandeis University where he is the Shirle Dorothy Robbins Creative Writing Prize Fellow.
Art: Painting by Olivier Fonteau, @olivierfonteau.art