nothing happened in 1989

by Safia Elhillo

there was no coup & no darkness of
oil sliding into the world’s oceans the
students in a square spit the bullets
from their bodies & resume their cry
my mother returns the yards of white
lace & the man to whom it will bind her
the world wide web dissolves back to
numbers on a screen dali lives
& my country eludes the soldiers’ touch
spills instead like sand from their palms
& maybe my father was only an unrequited
look at a party on some indistinct night
going cool while the lights dimmed
& my mother went home instead to her records
her american posters michael glittering
on the ceiling above her bed & prince
maximalist even in his suggestion of nudity
the synthy maximalism of the eighties when
the men my mother loved would live forever
frozen in their costumes & unscratched
Unscathed perfect in their paper sleeves