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Image by Inge Poelman

I dream myself into the map of Tanzania

curl up in your outline.  Your borders 
swell when I inhale; sink with my sigh. 
Legs pulled up to the chest, I press 
myself into the dust. My back 
rests against Kilimanjaro, my belly,
heavy with rocks of longing, melts 
into your heartland. I stretch my arm,
rest my head, hair braided with algae 
in Lake Victoria. When I touch 
my breast, milk floats down dry riverbeds, 
trickles reach Lake Tanganyika, mix with waters 
for ibis and hippopotamus. 

I dream myself into the map of Tanzania, 
suck the salty skin on the inside of my elbow 
while one foot dips into the Indian Ocean.

Dog roses, May 1945

for Jörg

She whispers botanical names like codes:
for bluebell, forget-me-not, marguerite.
You see her making a wreath from dog rose

for your father’s portrait. You look at those.
In your six-year-old mind one thing on repeat;
she whispers botanical names like codes.

When will Papa come home? You pose
that question. Far afield, you hear a lamb bleat.
You see her making a wreath from dog rose.

Uncle B. also hasn’t returned yet, she consoles
her son. Then a soldier returns with news, —-
She whispers botanical names. Like codes

of Morse they repeat loyalty never erodes.
He’s spared the questioning of principle, defeat.
She whispers botanical names like codes.
You see her making a wreath from dog rose.

Moonlight Serenade

“Don’t!“ you shouted too loudly
when I stuck my toe into the full moon
emanating its strange light
in this balmy dark June night.
It was softer than expected.

“But it’s you who started it“, I laughed.
You hauled her in on a string 
of soft sounds, words smooth 
from being sucked for decades
with too much longing. 

So there it lay right in front of our feet.
We both breathed helium air,
giddily kicked the moon ball,
chased it giggling through the streets,
across the market square.

Then down to the river.
Out of breath we watched it float 
on its own watery light,
hand in hand, our moon masks 
facing out.

Karin Molde feels at home in Ireland and Germany. She teaches languages and has published in magazines, both print and online, like Skylight 47, Honest Ulsterman, The Wild Word, and in anthologies, e.g. Everything that can happen. (Emma Press, 2019), Identity (Fly on the Wall, 2020), Remembering Toni Morrison (Moonstone Press, 2020), New Beginnings (Renard Press, 2021), and Ukraine War Special Edition (Poetica Review, 2022). Her chapbook “Self-Portrait with Sheep Skull” was published with Moonstone Press, 2023.


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