Tag Archives: sestina

My Jacob

Empathy here, at the genesis, a garment
worn to wrestle. The hip bone
wrenched at dawn. A new name
for one at the end of himself. Stones
ground under heels overnight. He won’t go,

that heel-grabber, he wants a full-face
blessing. Under his torn garment,
throbbing with honest pain, his hip bone
is ID’d by my thumbprint. My name:
he knows it. He left it with the stones,

that time he gave my house my name,
rested his head and dream-laddered to me on pillow-stones.
So I won’t go,
and he’ll see the lines of kindness that write my face.
And I’ll feel the pain shouldered under his garment,

thumb-pressed into memories of when he had to go,
flee a father who could not see his face,
the hairs barely plucked free of his garment.
He knows the throbbing truth, has picked it from the bone:
his brother was right when he spat the heel-grabber name.

And yet. He grabs the other truth while we grind stones:
I want to make room for him, to let him go
with a memory of my face.
He will get a chance to replace this garment,
the one holy-torn to our contention’s bone.

Fast backward and forward to other bruised bone:
His own father with sticks carried on boy-shoulders, carried in the name
of a ram-surprised sacrifice. Then, those stones
that cried at the sight of battered shoulders, cross-ready to go.
You will cry, too, at my thorn-pressed, pain-readable face.

At the dawn there I am, and you have a new name.
When your pillows are stones, your dreams wrestle with bruised bone,
remember your holy-torn garment, read my love-legible face.

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Sestina Baptism

My friend kneels as the water
Drips down her length, slipping into channels of love
The same irrigation system draws my tears-
The beauty of a baptised life
Washed into holiness and gently patted dry
Molecules of dirty dissent wiped out.

Peace. The stones have cried it out
Sleeping now, their salty water
Took an exiled age to dry
My friend rescued by love
From the Babylon shores of her life.
But I weep Babylon rivers of tears

My cracked life again springs leaky tears
I always swim far out
Beyond the buoys of a good life
Struggling in the dark water
Dumped back to beach by tsunami love
Like Jonah, high and dry.

My throat is rich-man burnt and dry
Waiting for the Jesus-wept tears
Waiting for extinguisher love
To put the fire out
Or just a drop of Lazarus water
To sprinkle life back to life.

It’s a woman-at-the-well life
Waiting for Jesus in the noontime dry
Drawing words, love and water
Forgetting the on-the-way tears
Singing all the way out
Of sitting-by-me love.

At the baptism lunch a few people love
My daughter’s ukulele strumming. Life
Is remarked on over fruit and cheese. Inside and out
Children fling their towels to dry
Over the fence. There are tears
As they compete for trampoline space and pool water.

Through trails of chlorine I’m happy to remain dry
I’m baptised by on-the-way tears
My spirit splashes happily in love’s water.

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