A solitary dove
Lies underneath strewn leaves.

Black and blue —
It has fallen from great heights.

A closer look:
Is it yet alive?

A stir:
Its feet yet kick;
Chest rises feebly.

O bystander!
You will be forgiven
Leaving it for dead.

But enter a moment into the mind
Of this delicate bird:

“I have fallen from lofty places,
I will sit in the bruising
And wait for my healing.”

Memories of clouds seep in:
The boundless infinite.

Still, the dove lays more and more still.
In two days it was dead.

Alas! The delicate wings fly not again.
And like so many of us
Bigger and wiser humans,
We wait,
And wait,
For healing that does not come.

--

--

The bells toll again —
Another death; another life cut short
Another full stop where a comma should be.

The funeral, the many funerals
Are busy spots of black
Men whispering into men and women weeping into women
And the endless lines of
Condolences, the many condolences
Hymns echo solemnly in the village church.

A hive of activity in the presence of a coffin
And what comes after?
A blankness, a mournful
Whiteness
The silence of
Wind chimes and wind
Floors creaking, doors squeaking
And the sound of distance, the long distance.

And what comes after?
The dreading of dread
Of solid shadows melting a drop a day
Of burly memories fading an inch a night
Of solitude building, building,
Building.

--

--

Was it worth living a full sixteen years
Before your military helmet betrayed you
By a single stray bullet?

Was it sweet to see your Adam’s apple blossom
To let the unguarded seasons fill you to the measure of a man
Only for a chance of lightning
To fell you in an arid land?

Or would it have been better
If I miscarried you
While you were still soft and unformed?

Why does scripture say
For you are dust and to dust you will return?

Were you ever dust to begin with?

Was it dust that kicked inside my womb
On tender, slight mornings
When motherhood was still a lulling dream?

Flesh of my flesh;
Blood of my blood:
The metal that pierced your unfrowned forehead
Shattered to pieces the porcelain of my soul.

--

--

A wound blossoms
Out of dry skin

O sharp beauty!
A rose, arose

Now pink, now red
Exquisitely painful

Do not blame me
For eulogizing hurt

Do not blame me
For having lost faith in healing

Life has taught me:
Beginnings are more beautiful than endings

I cannot bear the thought
Of another new scar.

--

--