El Anatsui

Feeling in pain when there is no stomach-ache.
There is only the pain of the mind and hundreds and thousands
of small gold oblongs wired into a surface. Into this burns the sun,
bottlecaps thrown, a chain mail, trash draping, curtaining,
a sound, a stone thrown across a shield or metal grate,
a sorrow not forthcoming but showing the leathering hand.
The artist pours out this visible tension, scraps pouring through.
Heat on neck, glare on glass, dust in the air. Scintillations—
things that stick, memorized coins, everything assembled.

I wish I spoke more languages because each new language is a window says El Anatsui
and notes that the word he says means war and erupt and disrupt
how his language can stretch. I’ve been at words this whole time,
spelling in my sleep. A wall, flattened back, of curves and sticks,
a thimble tall quake. Metal and rapid small beads
a nimble hand fixed to cloth fine as a soldier’s golden skin
made to move. El Anatsui takes death/trash, mends it
into a sheath. Lightning, a crow. We mean crown. I mean
your language, English, he says, is too specific. So unpreventable.