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Freetown, I Will Sleep Now

Poetry & Prose | March 24, 2014

First memory:
Watching white sunburned airplanes kiss the sky as their contrails disappear behind them.
Thinking America is a heaven amid snow clouds and drops of Sun.
“Welcome to Scandinavia” a restaurant sign reads in sharp serif lettering, down Park Street
Where I was almost born, late, last century.
A Japanese translation follows. Believe me, it’s Japanese,
(for they splay white tatamis everywhere on the alleyway where we live.)
Half-naked children chase the sunset,
Carrying the smells of different places they’ve been
Old women settle beside Olympic-sized pools of marsh
They form shapes resembling American Prairie potholes.
The torques in their whitened arms fan small sputtering fires,
And the clouds of smoke hurtle toward the sky,
As if chasing white airplanes
As if half the town has fallen asleep.
Yet, the only thing these people want me to remember is
Freetown is that place where every journey begins.
Believe me, I will. See you tomorrow. I will sleep now.

Last memory:
Balch Arena-Theatre-Hall-Auditorium, which ever rolls smoothly.
8 a.m. Homecoming.
The world is soundtracked by the voices of screaming children.
Shakespearean offspring, like the ones you meet in Freetown
Telephone conversations. Microphone celebrations.
Hamlet rehearsals. And whispers and whispers.
They swell past these transparent windows
Interrupting my Skype conversations with home.
Yet, the only thing these people want me to remember is
My journey to Walnut Hill began in Freetown,
That place of couscous and warm rains.
Believe me, I will. See you tomorrow. I will sleep now.