The stillnesses of my ancestors are in my blood:
The sway of their humble trees
their long walks on dirt roads
sewing needles & fishing rods.
One day, I too will be in your blood
My concrete, my playlists, the air and disaster
health of my whorehouse heart. It heaves while
trying to recall the quiet that held our ancestors
as they loved their way gently towards us.
But your skin and bones are also spiked with me, and
I am poisoned with the noise of now. The world roars
louder and louder over all thought. I am trying to save up
some silence for a compass, with you on the tip of its needle —
Let’s make a deal: if you live, spend your life in
search of whatever stillness is still in our blood
the silence of a cave instead of a cat that sleeps
over any song. Point to it for me. In return,
I will spend my days listening in for peace,
hunting for signs of the stillness, our ancestral hush.
If you’re there, then the compass still works
If you can hear us, our frequency will tune out their static
And there you will be,
far from lost, free to love,
in any direction back to our swaying tree.
By Liy Yusof. This poem first appeared in ISSUE Magazine, 2012.