a thousand people are saying
they think they know at last where we came from.
the wounded womb of earth—it’s the east, the south, out of birds spilling feathered bellies for our future, sands that coat through our nails to our bones, the shapes we wove onto our scarves, the kings we named.
they think now they’ve learned the root of our tongues,
that those names had something to hold, to mean,
           as though there were any other way to say, ‘our king is our god! let him preserve us

for centuries!’
I am looking into the future in those bleeding bellies.
(the smell erases everything, the sight of blood erases everything)
and centuries from now, a thousand of people are saying
they know
but wish they could remember what our people named ourselves before our king went to flames and ash, earth and air
and took our centuries away through the gates of the last queen’s realms, down in the heart of the mountains we once loved.