Titans Don't Stay in their Graves by Rosebud Ben-Oni

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


& I too would ask in the crowded elevator
Why the sky is always falling for him
When we name abuela in our languages
As if we all share the same
Is it that he could never claim
Such speech without raising
Suspicion or deny his single guiding star
Its omniscience
Or perhaps he does not wish to say    
Our matriarchs are titans
& titans don't stay in their graves
Titans never stay as they lay in their graves
Titans aren't idle engines in alleyways
They cross over & shoulder & stray
Every first generation dies a titan
Even those without children
Or a grave if their bodies taken
By desert or sea no ashes
No single star eternity
Not for one man
Who doesn't care to hear
How with strange science they taught
Against the whole word of their gods
Or that they slaughtered & burned their own expanses
To waning titans of worlds they loved & abandoned
If our children run through the last nameless fields
If only miles of weeds to fashion & pull ropes & rings
If with this they make the last cars & the last trains
Leap to the sky & remain
Always falling
If everything left
One man
Six-feet seals & blank slates
No we wouldn't need a spade
Or signal no our hands pulling earth
From earth our hands
Hearing
Coastline stripped & scattering cargo
Ships across sandbars & arroyo how even the dirt
Embedded in our fingernails would boil & seethe
The very reason not us but for our titans
These names
Still bleed


Photo of Rosebud Ben-Oni

Photo of Rosebud Ben-Oni

Born to a Mexican mother and Jewish father, Rosebud Ben-Oni is a recipient of the 2014 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry and a CantoMundo Fellow. She was a Rackham Merit Fellow at the University of Michigan, and a Horace Goldsmith Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the author of SOLECISM (Virtual Artists Collective, 2013), a contributor to The Conversant, and an Editorial Advisor for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, Arts & Letters, Hunger Mountain, among others. She writes weekly for The Kenyon Review blog. Find her here.