Mekiya Walters – Poetry

Biography: Mekiya Walters studies Creative Writing and Psychology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. He has lived in Asheville, North Carolina and Hyderabad, India, enjoys baking and fedoras, teaches Tae Kwon Do periodically, can personally vouch for the existence of unicorns, and will someday institute a global revolution using only double-ply color-changing sock yarn and size 2 tin needles. His work has appeared in Atlantis Magazine, Gulf Stream Magazine, and Diverse Voices Quarterly. 

Subject Permanence

At what stage, Piaget, do we learn
that people go on existing–
that air goes on flowing,
that blood goes on pumping,
that fluids go on moving,
that cells go on growing–
after we leave them for dead in our minds;
after we stop thinking of them?

Chariot

I want a soap bubble to wear:
effervescent, shimmering,
and not quite there–
I’m not quite there.
And if you

pop

me,

I’ll be your fault. Your thorns
in my throat feel just like
red balloons
rising up, little suns,
from a girl’s sweaty, lax palm,
rising like the chariots of little gods
up over all the skyscrapers
of me,
and if you

pop

them,

the sun will go out.

Personal Birds

If you don’t remove your birds
from my sky
at once,
I will complain to the keeper of the birds.
You will have your avian privileges revoked.
Is that what you want, now?

These origami beaks,
these origami mouths,
these origami bonfires
lick the dirt from our feet like apologetic dogs
and brush their own ochre tongues on our faces.

For this–
would you give up your birds for this?

You go to sleep beneath a sky full of snails.
I go to sleep beneath the silent televisions
through which the prepubescent world stares, inquisitive and naked,
into the grainy living rooms of space
bursting with useless weather systems.
You dream submersible dreams of sailboats
and misplaced hurricanes,
while high above your spinning world
the pockmarked moon sits contentedly.
I dream of remote skies–
I dream American, birdless dreams.

You—too dangerous in waking—sleep.
Take off your paint, take off your million feathers.
Hide your shortages and your mute geometries.

You, a tree under a sky full of snails–
I, a blind man trapped in a television–
You, a spermless whale
beached on a shore of decimated shells and oil.
Your fingers fall upwards toward black lips,
but the water is immutable.

Please reign in your birds.
They do not belong in my sky.
Let us relocate them
like black boys whose red noses
run from the sound of dawn cracking–
but I should not touch your birds.
I should not touch your wings,
the sinewy feathers, the blood-ink–
your flight is yours.
My flight
is also yours.

I have the flight of the cleaned bone;
I have an army of ants in my skull;
I have a head full of Africa.
Blood veins tracing a diamond mind, piles of spare hands
heaped in the corners of forgotten countries,
drier than bone origami–
please remove your birds.
Please remove your sky from my head,
please remove Africa. I’ve no more use for dirt,
I live in a television, prefer remote-control birds,
pixelated people–
I want the surgery.

If you remove your birds
from my small sky
I will never again try to read your face,
or search for your origami tongue,
which gave me paper cuts and then got lost
among the terraformed cushions of memory.
Your promise is yours.
My promise
is also yours.
I’ll turn my attention to innocuous screens
and make a pixel of the moon beneath my eyelid,
and I should know Seurat’s scorn–
in his wisdom, he would edit all my images
and assign me as a draft to his drawer.

I, trapped in the acute angle of America–
You, a sky with no birds–
I, a pixelated sky with no moon,
a paper wall, a clear sky, a camp, an astronomer with no telescope,
a moon’s eye view, a snail on the Atlantic, a screen, a storm door, an empty design—

The army ants climb softly out of Africa
and steal America’s fingers
so that they might, just once, swim in the Atlantic,
unafraid to drown—

you took your wings,
but left behind your birds.

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