Instructions for Building Straw Huts

Yusef Komunyakaa


Instructions for Building Straw Huts

Yusef Komunyakaa


Instructions for Building Straw Huts

Instructions for Building Straw Huts

First you must have
unbelievable faith in water,
in women dancing like hands playing harps
for straw to grow stalks of fire.
You must understand the year
that begins with your hands tied
behind your back,
worship of dark totems
weighed down with night birds that shift their weight
& leave holes in the sky. You must know
What's behind the shadow of a treadmill -
its window the moon's reflection
& silent season reaching
into red sunlit hills.
You must know the hard science
of building walls that sway with summer storms.
Locking arms to a frame of air, frame of oak
rooted to ancient ground
where the door's constructed last,
just wide enough for two lovers
to enter on hands & knees.
You must dance
the weaverbird's song
for mending water & light
with straw, earth, mind, bright loom of grain
untortured by bushels of thorns.


Instructions for Building Straw’ from Pleasure Dome: New and Collected Poems (Wesleyan University Press 2001), © Yusef Komunyakaa 2001, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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