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A Poem for Transference

Before I came to Senegal,

The moon hung barren in the sky

And I knew the man there to be but craters.

I could pick out Orion above the maple tree,

But I knew him to be but stars.


As I traveled, I learned to unlearn,

To disassemble my brain

And to lay its pieces on display,

Then to stretch it into a canvas

Eager for a new artist’s palette.


I traveled deeply,

Setting new roots and tethers,

Each one undoing a piece of the old me

And adding a new color to my mind.


In Senegal, I saw the moon again.

But I had traveled wide,

And I did not recognize that crescent

Pooling in her silver basin.


And all the old stories that had been killed

By research and analytics

Came rushing back because,

For the first time in my life,

I understood the moon as my ancestors did:

She is not a thing to be understood,

Not something to analyze or conquer,

But an artful stroke in the sky

To tempt the imagination.