Aubade Before Birth my body’s all she knows of the world, her turning all I know of her body Aristophanes’ lovers, all roundness and limbs, we’re a meld of selves the gods will split skin to skin heartbeats joined, one animal, soon two horses running two, two, split to two— * * * while I am still your Newet your night some star-clad goddess arching above and around you my voice your thunder my blood your cloak as you, small sun god, tunnel to light quicken and twist in this pitch once more that light will blind and part us -- Aubade under the I-10 New Orleans, 2006 Tomorrow we’ll pick our wheels, our home: a Bug, a Benz – more space to stretch— a van if nothing’s already living in it. For the hour we’ve got, let’s lie down in this Cadillac, a half empty whiskey bottle, a bottle of Busiprone, some prayer beads, a candle, what more do you want on this lowdown, flea-bitten night, shattered glass in the moonlight like stars? Ducks nest in the rubble of the floodwall, sunflowers root in the muck. Soon daytime and cops will come creeping, sirens circle and howl. Let’s moan to the yelp of the levee dogs, windows yawning as cars fly above. -- Aubade in Alexandria Above the Sufi’s grave the call to prayer rouses villages then spills through the city Clear water, white linen against a hot throat Heads bend to ground, to kitchen tiles, to train tracks Our bodies, blue in first light, have finished their petitions Your people shall be my people, your God my God Eight floors below, the water seller clangs his pot with an ancient coin found in a drainpipe Go, love, though my palms are hennaed like a bride, go before the doorman wakes Go and face your broken pillar, explain your exile in my country, in my arms The door clicks, a jaw snaps shut shadows flee the stairwell Vendors and muezzins sing and weep Day arrives: a flock of white birds -- Aubade in Beirut, 2006 Soon sun will struggle under a shroud of smoke, a steamer dock to take him; he can claim another country. She’ll leave along the coast, take her chances on the road to Damascus, tie a white scarf to her window like a flag and pray— They will try to speak of later, after as they stand on the dock, but now they walk out to take one more look at the stars. With all the lights out, they fill the sky. -- Aubade in Cairo we share the last smoke of our Cleopatra pack retape our bandages curfew’s still not lifted but the rooftop cock has insisted all night it is morning
Andy Young grew up in southern West Virginia and has spent most of her adult life in New Orleans working at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. With her partner, Khaled Hegazzi, she translates poetry from the Arabic and founded Meena, a bilingual literary journal, in 2005. For the last two years she has lived in Egypt, where she worked at the American University in Cairo and documented the revolution in essays, poems and photographs. A graduate of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers, her writing has been published in three chapbooks, publications in Lebanon, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico and throughout the United States in places such as the Los Angeles Review of Books, Callaloo, Guernica, and the Norton anthology Language for a New Century. Her work also been featured in Pasion Flamenca’s play “Flamenclorico: Lore of the Miners,” performed at the Joyce Theater, Public Radio International’s “The World,” the jewelry designs of Jeanine Payer, in Santa Fe’s public buses, and in SUNY’s Drawn from Disaster exhibit and Paul Chan’s Tree of Life project for the New Museum.