Talisman

The book breathes through layers of dust,
traces of fingers that flipped the pages disappear
like a voice lost in the storm. Dead can speak
in a million ways – in the rustle of the robe put out to dry,
in the spout of kettle molded with layers of memories.

Darkness settles as I bend over the left-over
soup caked dry in a pot gone cold; I scratch
from the run-over yard seeds that I will grow in alien soil,
in climates strange and unfamiliar. Against that azure sky
I will hold glass beads, see prismatic splinters of years

in the house that has fallen away brick by brick. Dust settles
in cracks between fingers as I mould shapes out of absences,
conjure faces whose contours I trace on my person –
in the mole below the thigh, in the colour of eyes –
passage of remembrance that midwifes pain and exultation.

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The Promised Land

A generation of people
tarry on the fringe of civilization,
the land of milk and honey
is a wry joke on their lips
chapped and bleeding
in the desert heat.
The Lord’s word bears out life
to Moses who reads it for his people.
  
To my generation with ADD*
words are stored in archives,
googled and saved in files;
I need not worry of the wind
that carries the Lord’s voice,
the accent that is foreign to my ears.
I can play the track again,
get him right.

(Written in response to Numbers 20)
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*
ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder