Cynthia Mac Pherson

winter chant

for Zelda – June 2009

a cold face cloth is the sieve of my pain
as I wipe the tears from my baby’s face
Lord bless me, give me strength. Let it not rain
nor flow through holes the rats gnawed in our place –
our shack. There Grace tends my boy; my daughter
studies and my ancient people await
disaster – winter flood, summer fire
I hand my baby to Grace and hurry
I listen and the chanting train lulls me
I leave the station and wait for the boom
gates echoing emptiness. God help me.
I unlock their door and their children come
into my hands. Each day they’re in my care
but emptiness echoes – I’ve much to fear

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