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Frank Bana

* What It's About *

'You are very young for hip replacements'. I've heard this several times. Reminds me
How I was too young for Botswana and Uni
And for the girls I wanted badly then
I was always travelling a little ways ahead
But now I'm slowing down it seems, body not quite what it was
And I'm not sure who'll reach the line, first, most out of breath,
Life, or me, or death.

My infant girl fought her way
Out of the oxygen tent
I sat in the soft chair with my book and the tubes
Poured coloured liquids in my chest, each week for seven months
Until at last the fever fell and strength came back
We went to dances, parties, seaside towns
For the beaches and fish restaurants
Went South for sunshine and came through
You shouted at my dreams,
I was afraid of you.

She still believes in tooth fairies
Is not so sure about Santa Claus
And I feel proud as she goes out to meet the school bus with her pack
You still believe in family and no-one touches me
I don't believe in deity, specifically the God of Israel, who stayed out on furlough
All through the Holocaust. My sole belief
Is in the love and tenderness I know.

Dreaming of flame lillies and flame trees, the fires in the desert
Blooming white like tumours far beneath the plane
Crop circles green in morning light, watered by tall centrifuge machines
Watching the Delta swell from its umbilicus, its river vein for a new season

you are absent in those bloody dreams, you say. It's not about all that, I cry
It's how the Delta drains into the desert. How it becomes its Omega
And where the herons and fish-eagles go to live
When the wet blue season leaves to die.

Submitted: Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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