Danusha Lameris
Dust

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 is the author of The Moons of August (Autumn House, 2014), which was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press poetry prize and was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award. She has recently completed a second manuscript, Bonfire Opera, forthcoming from University of Pittsburgh Press in 2020, and is the current Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California.