Fall 2016, Volume 21

Poetry by Babo Kamel

after Chagall’s I and the Village

And when you look into the eye of the horse
its pupil white and transparent
and see the horse–dreams there
that the horse is dreaming of the cow
who is only a cow without dreams of her own
milk squirting into the bucket
that the girl in the green skirt leans over
careful not to waste a drop
and the girl imagines herself outside of the village
with its lifeblood of gossip and crooked capped boys,
with violets in their hearts, as if these were enough
and the cobbler’s son looks into her eyes
and sees her girl–dreams there
sees them distant and strange
like paintings with perspectives flung sideways

She dreams a soldier in a ragged jacket
whose face inhabits the entire doorway of a church
and a sky so tiny she could swallow it
so that entire galaxies swirl in her chest
and in the red glitter of stars, and a bride forever
floats to a whole circus of violins
tasting of amber and rain

and she looks into the eye of the painter

and the cobbler’s boy seeing this stops breathing
for a moment, and the sound is so loud
the cow in the horse’s dream looks up and
steps out of it, into something vast and blue

And the girl continues to milk the air
The bucket holds on to its emptiness

The horse can’t help what it dreams




BIO: Babo Kamel's poems have appeared in The Greensboro Review, Alligator Juniper, The Grolier Poetry Prize, Contemporary Verse 2, and Rust + Moth among others. She was a winner of The Charlotte Newberger Poetry Prize, which was published in Lilith Magazine. She has work forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly and Mobius. She earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College. Originally from Montreal, she now resides in Venice, Florida.