Poem for Owen

I asked you why you love me
Because the question cast a long shadow.

I saw in your blue eyes
Water to sustain me,
Water to wipe the slate clean,
Water to bring energy,
A flow I could surrender to,
A sky I could aspire to.

Also in your eyes I saw,
The tsunami of 2004,
Coming like a wall with little warning,
Every day, I watched for a retreat of the tide,
A wall coming to wipe away everything I knew.
Then I wondered if what I knew
Needed wiping away.

I asked you why you love me.
You told me,
I could keep your children warm,
Our cat could bask in my light,
You told me I could keep them warm,
Or I could burn a village
To the ground.
Which way it could go, you never knew
And you stoked the embers anyway.

You told me it was worth it,
To feel the heat
And gaze into the fire.
Still, sometimes I fear,
You’ll build a wall of stone around me,
light candles for the mantlepiece.
Put a guard around me,
In case sparks fly and little fingers get burnt.

Yet there is a fleck of brown in your left eye,
And even if that earth gets scorched,
And you’re swept away in a cloud of steam,
If the fires temporarily get doused,
The crop will grow again in time,
And we’ll yield a fertile harvest.

Art credit: Kevron 2001

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Grace Curley
Grace Curley
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