Poetry / February 2011 (Issue 13)


by Graeme Brasher

The broad avenues blow their dusty litter
The plane trees nod and sway
The grey-era concrete temples looming moan
The leaves waft and flutter; one flies
High beyond the marble column figure
Erect arm extending like a geyser
Into the haze and scratched sky

This is Mereles, home of the foam
Which blows in clumps off the brown beach
Where the flotsam of an ocean rides the surf
To shore and shunts up the dunes toward town.
From this the un-homed help themselves to the prizes
Of chance: sometimes wooden, sometimes golden,
Sometimes metal twisted or plastic deformed by the waves.
In their hands they drag lengths of weed knotted with rope
And strands of net meshed with shell.
Their glistening eyes seem transported
But their toes are blue and their hair is matted,
Smiles fixed on their faces keep their sadness in.

What if the gnawed core grew the leaf
The deep shadow cast the sun
The butterfly became the pupa
The belching frog turned to spawn?
What if fishbone drew flesh
The drains gushed limpid water
The bricks glued the mortar
Leaves returned to the tree
Nut attached twig, skin grew from the wig?

What if death engendered life?

What if those star-scattered atoms assembled your hand?
What if land swallowed sea?
What if sand made the mollusk?
What if you came back to me?

*Mereles: Three syllables; rhymes with 'error-less'

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