Copyright Christina L. Turczyn 2016
Kites Over Havana
(After hearing Paquito D’Rivera’s piece, as performed by the Imani Winds Quintet)
As a child, the composer
dreamed kites over rooftops
ribbons of music loosed from string.
If rivers could fly, they would
look like this:
winding without thought, and hungry,
orchestras tuning flutes before rain.
Was freedom the weightlessness of dreams
drifting closer to clouds? Their paper
Billie Holiday’s voice let go
from grief? Was it everything she knew
but could not speak, the slow
note after note out of the body,
hand over hand, open danger
Freedom? Green leaves struck
through with light,
thought without banks,
a woman dancing pain.
The body’s rooms of compassion?
The currents that carved their dimensions?
Was freedom recognition?
Here, a man lifted
a branch of shadow from his
lover’s face and saw his own, released
from geometries of silence.
Or was freedom the kite’s
through gradations of sky—
resembling water’s ripening
merely this imperfect life?
This life, a wing, a dress cast off
somewhere between air and earth
war an its telling,
thorn and skin?
–First published in Apiary Magazine Online, 2015