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By Kwame Dawes

In every crowd, there is the one

with horns, casually moving through

the bodies as if this is the living


room of a creature with horns,

a long cloak and the song of tongues

on the lips of the body. To see


the horns, one’s heart rate must

reach one hundred and seventy

five beats per minute, at a rate


faster than the blink of an eye,

for the body with horns lives

in the space between the blink


and light — slow down the blink

and somewhere in the white space

between sight and sightlessness


is twilight, and in that place,

that gap, the stop-time, the horn-

headed creatures appear,


spinning, dancing, strolling

through the crowd; and in the

fever of revelation, you will


understand why the shaman

is filled with the hubris

of creation, why the healer


forgets herself and feels like

angels about to take flight.

My head throbs under


the mosquito mesh, the drums

do not stop through the night,

the one with horns feeds


me sour porridge and nuts

and sways, Welcome, welcome.


Source: Poetry (February 2016)

  • Living

Poet Bio

Kwame Dawes
Born in Ghana in 1962, Kwame Dawes spent most of his childhood in Jamaica. Dawes’s work reporting on HIV/AIDS in Haiti after the earthquake formed a key component of reporting done by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting that won the National Press Club Joan Friedenberg Award for Online Journalism and was released as Voices of Haiti (2012). Dawes is currently the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska. The co-founder and programming directory of the Calabash International Literary Fesitval, he also teaches in the Pacific MFA Writing Program and is on the faculty of Cave Canem. See More By This Poet

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