Orphanage

img0040_1

Orphanage
(circa 1948 AD)

black crucifix
ivory figurine
white walls
cowled heads
downcast eyes

holy water
damp fingertips
genuflection
sign of the cross
in nomine …

salt tang of tears
wax-scented floors
flip flop of leather
sandals without socks

brown robes
black skirts
hair covered
white wimples
rattling of rosaries
telling of beads

musty confessionals
shaped and shamed
by shadowy sins

time without end
dustless and clean
cleaner than consciences

 

Avila 2007a 039

 

Shipwreck

 

IMG_0152 (2).JPG

Shipwreck
(1914 AD)

they came for the burial
more civilized than
ritual burning

one by one
victims gathered up
held in one last hug

empty coffins
stood in rows
waiting to be filled

bodies on the beach
scarred in an after life
black and white

stark their weird
bones bleached
among sea-weed

done the deed now
coffins filled
lids nailed down

high tide mark
carapace charred wood
rusted iron

bright bones
long dead creatures
slow washing of hands

relentless actions
wind sandpaper sea
tear-filled skies

 

15 May 2002 Pre-Rimouski 109

Samaritan

IMG_0437 (4).JPG

 

Samaritan
(1890 AD)

I lived with him
he treated me well

to him
I was the other
yet he fed me
when I hungered
gave water
when I ran dry

I fell ill
he cared for me
nursed me back
to health

he taught me
his language
culture history
traditional skills

he loved me
never forced me
to forget myself
and be like him

he made me
what I am today
a discerner
between
light and dark
still the other

 

Aye, aye

IMG_0581.JPG

Aye, aye
(8 April 2019)

I am my eye
this eye
my left eye

rapid heartbeat
shallow breathing
tautness in chest
this is all about
my eye

frozen with gel
disinfected
bathed in iodine
it nestles in a nest
loitering with intent
within a blue tent
filled with oxygen

three bright lights
surgeon’s fingers
surgical instruments
moving shapes
this eye my eye
sees them draw near
then fade away

machines hum
laser beams bite
extract then implant
more liquids
face patted dry
dark glasses appear
smiles all around

“Oh my eye
and
Betty Martin!”

this eye
is not an eye
because you see it
it’s an eye
because it
once more sees you

IMG_0591 (2).JPG

Paradise Lost

IMG_0112

Paradise Lost
(1667 AD)

nobody answers
bewitched by your knock
ultimate betrayal
front door locked

cold finger elegies
devils ascending
rhythmic drumming
rain descending

knock again louder
nobody’s replies
ahoy there the house
nobody’s inside

memories flutter
life’s dead butterflies
doorstep-marooned
look around take stock

ghosts watch from windows
sockets open in shock
that key in your pocket
might open the lock

a mystical place
between heaven and earth
land of my fathers
house of my birth

Tangled Garden

 

IMG_0087

Tangled Garden
(1916 AD)

indoor daffodils
drink water
dosed with chemicals
survive in a vase
refuse to crumple
won’t furl their flags

outside
sunshine and shade
Cape Daisies Peonies
Sunflowers
Black-eyed Susan
threading her colored ribbons
through butterflies
and Bees Balm

towering the Hollyhock
seeded by a surprise wind
coming in from nowhere

weeds crowd together
vox populi
these dandelions
beloved of the gods
ubiquitous
totally indestructible

Copperopolis

IMG_0094

Copperopolis
(1717 / 1804)

mountains of the moon
lunar landscapes
lunatic fringes
mercury madness
running through brains

scabs picked
wounds running raw
skin blotched red
eyes blurred
twitching

wait a hundred years
grass might grow back
earth might give flowers
bay waters might flow free

my grandfather coughs
his lungs up
bit by bit

he’ll never again know
the scent of flowers
taste oysters from the bay
smell sea-fresh air