Two poems by Dylan Coleman

Principles of flight

Does the wind have a name
When it blows a kite—
Does it change when it batters
The rooftops of the downtrodden?

What is the wind that turns your cheeks pink
Or the wind that blows oceans?
And what about wheat and grass
Or arrows of birds migrating?

What wind blows on picnics in parks
Or the back of workers going home?
Does the wind know that it carves
Into mountains and bends trees?

If I could give you the wind’s name
Then I would also give you mine.


6:00 a.m., 16 degrees, light rain.
It’s a Wednesday.
Days like these I miss you most,
when the cold makes me probe
at your memory like a sore
on the roof of my mouth.

Poke prod stab
at the words we had said,
that with every reflection make less
and less sense—scattering like light.

6:30 a.m., 6 degrees, light rain.
Your side of the bed is a windless lake,
you haven’t slept here for months now.
Still reeling from a dream of you,
effervescing at the day’s touch.
Dew, like holy water,
streaks my view of outside.

I have exorcised you too many times;
at midnight, in daylight,
wearing nothing but remorse
and the memory of your touch.

7:00 a.m., 7 degrees, partly cloudy.
Go; like the frost on the window pane.
The sun is coming—go, go now.
My absolution is illuminated;
a thousand black sparks burst from the tree tops,
dissolving into the horizon like forgiveness.

Dylan Coleman was born in Pretoria and spent seven years of his childhood in England. He lives, works and studies in Pretoria and is currently completing his Honours degree in English Literature at the University of Pretoria.

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