Leaving

I drew a bridge
over the stream
that borders our town.
My sister painted
tall trees that lean
over the water,
but never cross.
My parents bought the paint, the brushes;
my teachers stretched and primed the canvass.
I painted the path;
it took weeks.
When it was finished,
I was so proud
I walked across it
not knowing
it was the kind of bridge
you only crossed once.

 

 


 

 

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Old Transmissions

I miss the clutch in our old car, father’s hand
engulfing the round knob of the gear shift each morning
as he slipped us into the flow of traffic.
The groan of the car made it clear
changing gear took effort,
that inertia was best met
with steady step and gentle grip.

My mother doesn’t miss those days
struggling at the roundabout,
stalling on the long slope to city centre.
Her automatic starts and stops at will,
no fuss, no sound, without straining,
without the thoughtfulness of old transmissions.

 

 

 


 

Red Sea

for the broken-hearted

I married Moses.
He wasn’t Moses when I married him;
He was Pharaoh’s hand.

I married Moses
before something else touched him
before his holy brand.

We made plans
for progeny and pyramids,
to visit foreign land,

to cross the sea,
to be free,
but not like this,

NOTHING LIKE THIS.
I married Moses before we knew
the meaning of his name.