“Flowers in the Sky”
“In the name of God the merciful the mercy giver, I have been allowed to write you a card and just letting you know I’m doing fine and in good health. Do not believe what is being said about me in the news it is untrue and I pray that we can have a reunion. Love your son Pucho.”
-Letter to mother from Ibrahim Padilla June 2002, after nearly
two of over three years of imposed silence
without criminal indictment, Detained as enemy
combatant on American soil, American citizen-
Another Dream, or nightmare,
And I am following her through the coughing streets
Where she is lost in the traffic and there are
Swarms of sick and yellow-skinned soldiers.
Something is trailing from the back of me
Some string stretching behind in a line I
Tried to follow, was lost, in another dream,
Where I was lost trying to find my way
Again through foreign places.
I see Her shoulder in the shoulder
Of an old man leaning in to a bus and I rush
To get to Her and there is some flashing sound
Coming from way back behind me, catching up.
I pray to God that I have not faltered.
I can feel a double pain in my back
And I can feel that there are wings coming out and it is
All I can do to stretch them open, fold them again
In the tight space of the bus.
I had imagined them beautiful,
White or the color of lighted door space, but seeing them
Cloaked about me, I can make out
The fine interweaving of threads sown together
Long, wove together fuses following in to a crack
In my spine, between sore shoulders.
There is a boy standing there, with the same shoulder
As that shaded woman and his eyes are wide and
His finger strikes towards some point behind me
And again is that crackling sound of fuse running short
And my wings spread taught, great masts of waving heat
And in that last moment I have the silver tongue
Of God between my shut lips and in that last moment
Before it’s all just white and white-gold,
There is a radiance in his eyes and something I can’t
Read for beauty or terror.