Poetry / March 2014 (Issue 23)

After the Fall or the Power of Reading

by Reihana Robinson

You are a child and you are reading
Barefoot Gen
For Gen (after the fall) the Angels of Death flutter and storm
spilling and flooding first one city then

Angels of Death fluttering insomniacs twisting
rising and falling

Angels of Death have no need to be bird-like
Birds never miss the place to fly through

Here Angels of Death use up the verbs
what is to burn
what is to plunge
what is to kettle
what is to fry
what is to torque
to drill to sear to braise to bake to shrivel
to melt to blast to shrink to shadow
to suck to maim to bleed to horror
and worst of all
what is to live on from
the small Enola tumble and fall

The Angels of Death are churning and smothering

You are a child and you are reading
Barefoot Gen
The blue sky over Oriental Bay
shuffles and gallivants with its
new offer of sunshine

You are a child breathing without flames
You are a child inhaling without flames
Your library housed without flames
A splinter of time in Oriental Bay and
time and distance swivel to find
you are no longer a child reading Barefoot Gen
You are wide-eyed and perplexed
under the innocent sky
Barefoot Gen
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