Saturday, 20 June 2015

The tooth - Robert Minhinnick

(Amiriya, Baghdad)
In your head I whisper:
A tooth, blue as a cinder
And I ask: Coward,
Whose pain is it anyway?
Your cells are a blizzard,
Your mind a ragbook, yet
I dream you into growth
Luscious as papaya flesh
Around my black seed.

Why this need to condemn?
I have felt your bones
Gasp in their foundry,
And at night you do not know
But I have heard your blood
Like a bench of silversmiths
Pause at its work.
Then continue.

Once I dreamed
You inside a laboratory
When you stared at a kernel of phosphorus
Until it sprouted fire;
And thirty years later
Ached in your skull
As you stooped in the shelter
Of Amiriya to pick the tooth
Of a child like a rice grain
From the ash.

We’ve been together
Such a long time now.
And my roots
Go all the way down.

Robert Minhinnick (born 1952) Wales

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