Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The Prodigal Son (a third edit)

The force that drew you home — each sunrise
you stood at a foreign window and watched
the returning sun, its rays hitting the sand,
as if the desert skin were a blind worm
wriggling its pink segments, slowly burrowing
into your heart and you emerge without expectation,
travel towards you father’s eager hand —was it stronger
than that which drove you to choose emigration?

And your brother, whose smile was lost
in the distant childhood that severed you both,
whose eyes stayed closed because he saw too clearly
your mother’s hand, how it lingered on your shoulder,
did he ever forgive you, who took for granted
all that he had not—forget your father’s words spoken
upon your return, what else could he utter to justify
his excitement as he spied you wandering up the road?

Did your mother’s eyes ever lose their sheen

of pain? Did cousins, once co-conspirators,
and family friends, always visiting, ever cease
that curious sideways glance in your direction?
And in the cloying heat of the many summer nights,
surrounded by familiar sounds, laying in your tossed bed,
as if a mariner trapped by contrary wind,
every time you exhale do you wish to again escape?

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