Monday, 19 November 2007

Chinchorro at the shore


He took our elder son
- who looks like him -
down to the shore
and I said
Please our son is young

but he said Yes

and he must learn
where fish are waiting
- and our son’s eyes shone

The waves were high

and they so fragile near the water
Our son was waving
as they walked below the hill

I saw the ocean heave

into the distant air
I knew the gods were angry
- my son so young

I shouted

but they could not hear
My voice roaring out to warn
was like a sea bird in its nest

On came the heaving ocean

one wave much higher than the palms
and then my cry
was silenced

as he and our son

- who looks like him -
were taken

Our daughter still prepares

the fish for their return
She didn’t understand my screams
How will I tell her

The ocean

- from the gods’ displeasure
will strip their bones
of all their roundness

Her father

- who could take the fish
build up our house of reed
and stroke her shining hair -

will never wear

the blackened face
nor join my son
(Too young to die)

(Too old to die an infant)

straight-sleeping in the sand
his bones packed out with earth

And I can’t weave the mourning reed

to wrap around the son I bore
- the man who warmed my body

copyright 1997 Charlotte Peters Rock

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