The Tent of Gladness

by Kwame Dawes

We will pay what it costs for yards and yards
of women’s fabric, the centuries of learning
in the fingers of those who turn yarn into this
milky softness that allows the air to enter
and depart, this constant caress on all
skin. Even after the leathering of sun and dirt,
a body washed, talced and massaged,
welcomes the constant affection of the shawl:
it is how a woman loves herself — and when
she draws a child, scowling from the pain
of her scalp stretched to make the beautiful
sculpting of spindling lines, the patterns
of the earth as a crowning over her,
slowly the frown will soften at the protection
that it brings — we must at least say what
it is like: like prayer spilled on the heads
of the blessed; like the wall of a waterfall
sheltering those in the cave; like hiding inside
the voice of a woman singing songs of sweet
melancholy and nostalgia; it is like
the light falling through trees deep in the forest
where all the world has learned to pulse
with your heart’s beat; all one, all one.



Poem copyright 2018 by Kwame Dawes. All rights reserved.

See two more poems from Kwame Dawes debuted on The Fight & The Fiddle:
The Middle Classes  and  Singing Around the Piano

Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Writing Prompt

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