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For Hassan Rabeh, young dancer displaced from Syria, who killed himself by jumping from a seventh-floor balcony in Beirut, Wednesday, June 22, 2016

& perhaps you flew. I read the news, how you plunged from the seventh floor, a Beirut balcony,
& I am filled with a sound of sirens, a need to be alone. This war this theater this city this.
& I was at a Da Vinci exhibit at the museum this morning.
& what a blessing, to say I was at a Da Vinci exhibit this morning.
& he was a pacifist who designed killing machines, for money always comes from warlords.
& he, who like no other knew of the divine proportions of the body,
& he who preferred to trace limbs & ligaments
& the glide of bat wings in the air, he who preferred the theater,
& the projector, & the drum, & bridges, imagined the machine gun
& the submarine, & the tank, sculpted a bullet with a more precise dance.
& oh how the mind bends & how light & shadows fall.
& you, young dancer, tell me, what do you know of the flight of birds,
& of the difference between theatricality & war, dissection & witchcraft, dance & death?
& were you searching for your Palestine in Damascus, for your Damascus in Beirut,
& were you looking for Allah in the joint, the spine, the twirl?
& that last scribble your body made in the air, was that you,
& were you trying to write backwards, to lift instead?
& did you? Tell me, are the mountains blue in the distance?
& does poetry matter, & does dance?
& is there a bridge where the displaced go after they’re gone?

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