September 2010

Fata Morgana

A new poem

by Yusef Komunyakaa
I could see thatch boats. The sea

swayed against falling sky. Mongolian

horses crested hills, helmets edging the perimeter,

& I saw etched on the horizon scarab insignias.

The clangor of swords & armor echoed

& frightened scorpions into their holes,

& the question of zero clouded the brain.

I saw three faces of my death foretold.

I sat at a table overflowing with muscadine & quince,

but never knew a jealous husband poisoned the Shiraz.

I laughed at his old silly joke about Caligula

lounging in a bathhouse made of salt blocks.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Yusef Komunyakaa’s latest book of poetry is Warhorses, and forthcoming from FSG is The Chameleon Couch. He teaches creative writing at NYU.

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