Teach Me

Ian Rhodewalt

Talk to me, oh wind behind the wall
oh burning dance
oh broken mountains stained with the sunset’s dust

Talk to me, oh gates of unleashed forests
oh bearded anger
oh silent table, maddened by the country’s knives

Talk to me, oh forgotten sleep
oh officer’s stripes
oh whistling, fermented, ancient streets

Talk to me, oh frustrated clocks, waiting to pounce
oh fallen books
oh midnight laundry, stung by the smog

Talk to me, oh farmer’s dying hands
oh whispering cigarettes, shifting in the glare of the moon
oh restless steel mill chimneys

Talk to me, oh identification papers
oh watery, mischievous children’s smiles
oh market vendor songs

Talk to me, oh sleeping cello, lacking jealousy
oh troublesome frying pan
oh leather jackets hanging in the shop window

Talk to me, oh butcher shop, watched over by stone lions
oh lily stained garden
oh simple mosque, built from desert poetry

Teach me your history of irredeemable shadows, teach me the meaning of this name.


Ian Rhodewalt is a poet, educator, and prison abolitionist from Southeastern Pennsylvania and Northeastern Vermont. A graduate of Oberlin College, he has been living for the past year and a half in Ramallah, Palestine. His writing has previously appeared in Mondoweiss, Plum Creek Review and Drain Magazine. He is currently working on a book.