I’m excited to share with you tonight a poem by Aliah Lavonne Tigh, who read at The Mutable Hour last week. She has a chapbook coming out soon; the launch event is this weekend. You can message the publisher @TramEditions for the event link.
Tonight’s poem, “A Dam is A Form of Failed Diplomacy,” is first published in the chapbook Weren’t We Natural Swimmers (2022).
A Dam is a Form of Failed Diplomacy
In my father’s house,
floods took the kitchen. Still he welcomes you
to any of the other rooms. Hospitality lives inside us. Overseas, a cancer eats
my uncle’s bones.
. He doesn’t know
what his body grows—no voice but pain speaks
. to the host.
My aunt, nieces, and nephews hope
for cancer drugs in Iran. This is what sanctions mean. Here, someone sanctioned
the sale of a flood plain. Barker’s Dam could not protect
these families downstream. In this development,
. who among us now would not pray
. against rain. Or not ask that a loved one can board a plane. We are all
. the person we become
once watching water fill someone’s room. Come in, see—
. all this drywall’s new. I stand here painting small squares
. in likable shades of blue.
Aliah Lavonne Tigh is the author of Weren’t We Natural Swimmers, a 2022 chapbook with Tram Editions out now, and her poems have appeared in Guernica, The Texas Review, Matter Monthly, The Rupture, and others. She holds poetry and philosophy degrees from the University of Houston and an MFA from Antioch Los Angeles. Tigh lives in Houston, Texas, and you can find her on Twitter at @ALoveTigh.