Danusha Lameris

It covers everything, fine powder,

the earth’s gold breath falling softly

on the dark wood dresser, blue ceramic bowls, 

picture frames on the wall. It wafts up

from canyons, carried on the wind,

on the wings of birds, in the rough fur of animals

as they rise from the ground. Sometimes it’s copper,

sometimes dark as ink. In great storms,

it even crosses the sea. Once,

when my grandmother was a girl,

a strong gale lifted red dust from Africa

and took it thousands of miles away

to the Caribbean where people swept it

from their doorsteps, kept it in small jars,

reminder of that other home.

Gandhi said, “The seeker after truth

should be humbler than the dust.”

Wherever we go, it follows.

I take a damp cloth, swipe the windowsills,

the lamp’s taut shade, run a finger

over the dining room table.

And still, it returns, settling in the gaps

between floorboards, gilding the edges

of unread books. What could be more loyal, 

more lonely, and unsung?

Found In Volume 44, No. 03
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Danusha Lameris
About the Author

Danusha Laméris’s third book of poems, Blade by Blade, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press. She is also the author of two other books: The Moons of August, winner of the Autumn House Press Poetry Prize, 2014, and Bonfire Opera (Pitt Poetry Series, 2020), finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and winner of the 2021 Northern California Book Award. She is on the faculty of Pacific University’s Low-Residency MFA program and lives in Santa Cruz, California. www.danushalameris.com