Saturday, 31 December 2011

After The Stabbing

Leant against the minted green mottled gate 
with a bowl of corn meal porridge
cradled in crinkled cinnamon palm
the Nanny crouched
knees bent up
a childs finger thick strip of sugar cane
waggling between her supple lips
she slow goat chewed

blinked gently in the breeze flavoured by
the earth and sun
she shades her eyes to make sure
she does not miss her cue

she waves the boy to come along
a backward hand gripping playful air
loose at the fingers, wrist loose
as the hammock hung between the bows
of swaying trees in the yard
she beckoned him to come along
her clavicle shining and open

the boy, still tight in his shoulders
his knees weak with realisation,
almost locked with  fear
of falling in, he walked with shuffling feet
trainers dismantle themselves,
knowing they have no value here

the sky is a brave blue he has never seen
and he blinks, the blur,
of salt and water, wipes his eyes,
like a child of four, 17
and sports earthly body no more.

Come along, she beckons again
don't waste time in that state.
There's not a thing you can do now
you did good, you fought back
you stayed clean...

His memory tunnels to a present past
before he was lost for what seems like days,
when his fist flew at random angles,
like a chaos theory
of self defence: there were so many.

And how the bites
made his lung shout and his jugular
scream red rivers
it was the nip of puppies
at big man play - life was the chip

the dice were weighted four against one
The gamble didn’t care to hide a sliced smile 
smeared across the twilight
when the street lights cracked on
as he kicked, punched, head butted
veins fat with concentrated survival

he remembered
sat down where he was
and cried
the hottest tears

the little old lady
blinked into the bowl of corn meal
glanced back at the boy, a concertinaed heap
in the egg yolk dust road
looked beyond the emerald grassy banks
between the gumbo limbo trees,
shedding its rust red skin
to the epiphanies of the past
looking over the edge of the blank calling horizon

she took in the air
with wide nostrils, tasted it sweet salt
and shaded her eyes one more time
before she pushed herself up
with the aid of the leaning gate post stump

She took a slow comfortable walk
her back arched against the pull of gravity
and she reached the boy,
touched on top of his head

that stilled him.
Her feet in rough brown sandals
toes, a little gnarly, nails creamy white;
her ankles thin; the hem of her polyester dress;
the orange flowers smile at him easy

her old-fashioned petticoats glide themselves
a glimpse of him as she crouches
her hand, soft and cool cup his face
she kisses his cheek, one
then the other
her lips wet
with his tears

the sorrow rasps out of his lungs.
"you've never been kissed
with your own tears have you?”
She said. He nestles in

her eyes, milky blue black
the whites as bright as new clouds
she is a word he cannot fathom
she is elemental, that which cannot be said out loud

She shakes her head, slow,
"Not enough love out there.
Just not enough love..."

her mouth wrinkles
into a small pursed 'o', she blows
on his face hot with worry
he calms in his shoulders,
neck and chest, where lead
had made a home, wished away
on a platter of an attentive breeze, gone
be at ease

the clank of a simple spoon
on the side of the pale blue tin bowl
an orchestration of comfort
her touch on his chin loosens-
his jaw opens
to let the love in

Zena Edward©

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