Great Ooga-Booga, in your golden pavilion
beside the dung heap, please
don’t let me die in a public place.
I still see the man on the café floor
at the airport beneath a canopy
of florescence, somewhere
in the Midwest or back East,
travelers walking around him
& texting on cell phones
while someone shocked him back,
fiddling with dials & buttons
on a miraculous instrument.
Was the memory of a dress in his head?
Great Ooga-Booga, forgive me
for wearing out my tongue before
I said your praises. No, I haven’t
mastered the didgeradoo.
I don’t have an epic as a bribe.
My words are simple. Please
don’t let me die gazing up at a streetlight
or the Grand Central facades.
Let me go to my fishing hole
an hour before the sun sinks
into the deep woods, or let me swing
on the front porch, higher & higher
till I’m walking on the ceiling.
To read more poems by Yusef Komunyakaa, purchase the issue.