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Ru Freeman: New Poetry and Photographs


Let Us Then See

Young and fierce turned wise
bringing with it the undercarriage
gift of seeing    The enemy grew 
into his dimensions girded with shades 
my clear eyes once missed

Come    Sit here beside me:
the sound of those children’s feet 
can still be heard    Listen to how we
once sounded then    When he
was as I was: invulnerable  

I will tell you how we charged 
at the head of absolutes   allegiant armies 
beside   fidelity in our ears   the privilege 
of knowing everything except that we two 
he and I would be the ones to die for it    For all of it

We see the sky and the sky sees us 
bring palm to palm in shades of skin
This resonant on-beat pulse
that now brings us the difficult thing
the hard blurry whole of it
photo by Hasadri Freeman


The Old Poet

The old poet seeks no vantage of sight though
the high plain of advantage recommends itself 
Not even the ready pastures of grass and shore
where younger minds are roiled by shell and fern
can woo   He watches them return ransacked run dry 
to seek the thing they had in sightless fever missed

The desert blooms for him without ado, its 
occasional splendor understood by he
that knows no other way to do his work
Un-hunted fragments and impressions come
and take their place within his life    Without
seeing Atacama he comprehends the riot it unfolds

Its gift like his is given full with flair the earth
unable to resist expending all it holds     He echoes 
that bestow    A life fed by glory conscious of its end 
of passing through   Fleshed witness not master 
photo by Hasadri Freeman



A koha from voice to voice unrecognized 
call of bird mimic echo song replay repeat

The sun sets down its day into the basin 
grazed earth rim defined blurred edges linger

No wild swans have crossed from England today
only cattle remain one day replaced by new as I

This stage re-set as at this hour in time 
The Southern Cross seen naked, old legends returned

On this island of my heart I see it all and take
my fill    I know how it must end   this moment
this marbled gift   true things   and we 

photo by Ru Freeman


Thoughts for the Unborn

Over the silent roar of distance I wait 
for my brother's child   As-yet
ungendered this newborn-to-be 
will come bearing himself

Unboxed no world has rushed in
to fill her life with categories or titles or
subtexts or annotations or bibliographies 
to explain why she is what she is

Unnamed, she waits
Unnamed, he has no enemy

We wait for the gift of innocence

She will bring renewal 
a further commitment to all that is sacred:  
friendship  rice   salt   family   a country
fighting to love despite—

He will bring more than he will receive
We will tremble in our eagerness to prove
ourselves wanting of her gifts

Over the oceans in night to his day, 
I wait for word of my brother's child
Across the distance in different time zones
amid the drums of war 
we wait for word of children
photo by Ru Freeman

photo by João Carlos
Ru Freeman is an award-winning Sri Lankan and American poet, writer and critic, whose work appears internationally. She is the author of the novels A Disobedient Girl (2009) and On Sal Mal Lane (2013), a New York Times Editor’s Choice, both appearing in translation, and editor of Extraordinary Rendition: American Writers on Palestine (2015) and Indivisible: Global Leaders on Shared Security (2018). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Poetry, Narrative, The Normal School, Zyzzyva and elsewhere. She teaches in the MFA program at Columbia University.

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