Poems by Khalid Warsame

Storm Season

At first there was weather:
thunder boiled the air,
creating life, forming new
chains of complex molecules—
an inventory of calamity,
oceans volatilised
by molten rock forming rain
lashed islands,
villiform mountains
rising from vast
collisions, creatures emerge
from rock, straining toward
the sun. People came
at some point and then left
in violence. I am one of them—
a brief squall before
severance, a window
of opportunity: discarded food
scraps, an unpaid parking fine,
time spent next to a crapemyrtle
tree contemplating
the quality of light filtered
through leaves, spilling
on skin, the air thick
with the smell of backburn,
for this time of year.


Louis Zukofsky wrote that poems,
like all things, have the possibilities of elements
whose isotopes are yet to be found.

But how to translate something that is felt?
An urge to make real some scattered
connections: the word littoral, for instance,
with a poem I once read,
with a computer program designed
to write obituaries.

This sense of feeling is important:
it is a place to begin.

Particle Physics

The physical world
becomes deeply strange
at the subatomic level,
the laws that govern nature
as we currently understand them
seem to be more violable
than our own movement through it,
since we can never be
who we were in the past, but particles,
with only minor coercion,
can be made to exist
in two places at once.


The latitude and longitude are thus:
a house in Sorrento, where I once saw the sea

To return to Louis Zukofsky:
“Naked on face of white rock—sea”

Talk at the dinner table turned
to the Appalachian Trail

so much is abbreviated
and we remember only fragments