'Now he answers to everything that reminds him of her'
In this moving elegy to his infant daughter, Saddiq Dzukogi reminds us of how complex grief can be. The body’s responses to grief offer a way for us to cope with its deep pain. Here, the poem, 'So Much Memory', is a tender performance in which the poet, beautifully and hopefully, seeks to capture the lingering song of his daughter’s memory.
SO MUCH MEMORY
by Saddiq Dzukogi
Now he answers to everything that reminds him of her,
a crib rocking, a circle of faces
crowing at him. He can neither leave his eyes open
nor shut them. Splits the night
walking between two cornfields, striding
like he’s going for the thing he’ll never find.
See how he runs his hands over his body,
how his skin peels. After a night of crying,
he can feel her limbs in his palms,
versified, nothing made of flesh;
nothing made of bone. He opens his mind
and lets the leaves be his skin
and lets a song fall inside another song:
it mimics his daughter’s voice.
American Life in Poetry is made possible by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2021 by Saddiq Dzukogi, 'So Much Memory' from Your Crib, My Qibla (University of Nebraska Press, 2021.) Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2022 by the Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska
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