could we make a bed |  jim saliba


 

for dixie marion joan grant and june jordan
in honor of their bedmaking skills
both literal and metaphoric

could we strip off the old sheets
full of microscopic particles of dead
skin stray hairs from nights we lie waiting
for the latest state sanctioned murder
in san quentin with minute
by minute reports of the last meal
the walk to the chamber the last
words the result of the last appeal nights
of israel bombing lebanese firemen
the u.s. bombing refugees in kosovo nights
paying homage to free trade free
movement of t shirts radios calculators free
movement of money in electronic blips
big time capital whirling free
around the globe but never
never never any free movement
of people of living bodies across
borders

could we lay down a fresh bottom sheet
make it reach all four corners
with pockets deep enough
not to pop off
evicting the unemployed
into rows of sarcophagi
laid out on the sidewalk at market and hyde
on the streets of calcutta
rwanda the tenderloin
allowing rapes of children in the wrong
place with the wrong
person they trust
and permitting murders of filipino
postmen orthodox jews black
basketball coaches doll
collecting southern queers and women
who just dont dress right

could we unfurl a fresh top sheet
tuck it tight around the feet and even
the sides like a pocket where its safe
for a queer couple to kiss on an isolated
bench looking out over the city safe
for a woman to walk alone at night
look up into the sky
without worrying about dead bodies dumped
in neighborhood pools safe
for a child to ride her bike home
from a store at dusk without ending
up dead in a ditch safe
to speak serbian in kosovo speak
albanian in serbia and say
tomato in a palestinian dialect

WHERE WILL WE FIND THE SHEETS
HOW WILL WE MAKE THE BED

vast enough for us all
to lie down together
and rest

12/1999


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