Friday, 13 May 2016

The Ripples of Separation - edit 1

I think sometimes of that baby in the basket,
set loose from the bank, cast adrift
upon the life-bestowing Nile, its blue water,
the tall reeds along it high banks, the sacred Ibis
flying low, curious to see the crying child
all while the hot sun beat
(to the tune of the babe’s heart)
down upon his swaddled flesh
as his arms and his legs kicked and clutched
empty air where moments before
had been the warmth and security
of his mother’s breast.

The baby too young to understand
anything except being lost to the current,
little ripples of events joined
like voices in a crowd to create the whole,
of events he does not comprehend,
loss as heavy as a stone, though he does not understand,
the way I never did, standing in church
listening to sermons delivered in ancient Latin, he can only
feel the change in circumstances the way the basket
beneath him, shifts with the river’s alterations,
threatening to drag him

never to know that his mother is lost
so that he might be saved, and this unknowing—
what knots were tied, mooring him
like a ship, tied and left to bob on the ocean,
hitting the pier, hearing gulls cry
and wishing to be soar with them
but trapped to remain tied to the one spot;
and what what lost to him?
The events that might have changed him if only
to save him his mother had not lost him
and he was never to know except in its absence?

and I wonder if later, finding himself
 in arms that embraced him, the breasts
pushed close, the warm of breath, of pulse neck,
he, unsettled by that water’s uncertain trip,
does not believe, not ever really –
and perhaps this is why as Moses
he could cast aside so much and chance
the words of a burning bush, the separation of the river
and the wandering in the desert –

that he deserves those arms and the love held within.

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