Two Poems


Years from then we will return 
and they will remember us 
we will bring daughters and hope 
not flocks but individual birds 
you’ll swear your slippers  
walked to the beach alone 
we will know things, arrive 
with tents and games and books 
set up in their best spot happy 
anniversary of our visit they say 
and walk permit in hand 
there will be others on the beach but 
our fire we will say is better. We  
will gather close to that light 
and never look up, or over 
the ocean where we hear 
only later, seven white shark 
were circling the seals that 
sounded like our children 
who had waded deep all day


It’s the change of the dollar that makes
all that noise I heard her say She comes
from an island and like mine hers made her 
root & dance so the hard waves licked
incessant on us Mandrake women who
like the devil trees accrued dark courage
learned the currency that exes changed
leaving less worn tokens in our hands
skipping turnstiles to move bodies less
warm with each revolution of steel
Selfie-stick wielding activists what do they know
of bargains struck dumb we are pitched
black and wear gold scream colors
from head to toe Say keep it keep 
the change keep the change keep 
all the noise-making metal give us the rest
whatever that is, in this every man an island
country of deceit. We are far from home.

RU FREEMAN is the author of the novels A Disobedient Girl (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2009) and On Sal Mal Lane (Graywolf, 2013), a New York Times Editor's Choice Book. Both novels have been translated into several languages including Italian, French, Hebrew, Dutch, and Chinese. She is the editor of the anthology Extraordinary Rendition: American Writers on Palestine (2015) and co-editor of Indivisible: Global Leaders on Shared Security (2018). Her writing appears internationally including in the UK Guardian, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe. She blogs for the Huffington Post on literature and politics, is a contributing editorial board member of the Asian American Literary Review, and is the recipient of many fellowships including from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and the Lannan Foundation. She is a winner of the Mariella Gable Award for Fiction, and the JH Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman. She teaches creative writing at Columbia University. 

ISSN: 1533 2063