a frog does not have a tail by Michael Coolen

I watched an old man finishing his evening prayers
when a boy squatted next to him and said
I hope you are at peace, grandfather
peace only the old man responded
and you, boy, are you at peace
no, grandfather, I have questions
keeping peace away
what questions asked the old man
my little brother just died for no reason
he just died grandfather
why did Ebrima die so young
why can’t my mother stop crying
why does Allah let bad things happen to good people
the old man sat quietly for a minute
domanding, domanding, domanding boy
he replied
le ka nowulu
little, little, little comes the understanding of Allah
even for me some things make no sense
you may as well ask a frog why it does not have a tail


Michael Coolen is a pianist, composer, actor, performance artist, and writer. His works have been published widely, including the Oregon Poetry Association and Creative Non-fiction. He is also a published composer, with works performed around the world, including at Carnegie Hall, MoMA, and the Christie Gallery in New York.

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