Poem: Missing


Every time a skull is found

their pretty daughter walks into their minds.

Strange, that in every season there should be a time for this.

Rain turns wheeltracks into breaking clay

the wind lifts a blanket of leaves

the loud-voiced sun

counts and names

these cruelties of bone.

And every story flickers and judders

around what they don’t know.

It’s past the time of mattering

if it is her or not

they are all her, and so unlike her

she is lost in the gap between.

Now is the time

for the careful stetting of clocks

to rein the day and make it pace

from hour to hour, evenly, with no surprise.

They bend their minds to how each little thing

stacks up to make an ordinary day

and practise living as they were

when she was only eight, and ran away from home

with a tied red bundle on a stick.

Till she came back

they didn’t even know she’d gone.


This poem first appeared in Orbis no. 116/7, Srping/Summer 2000.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/84976416@N07/8361286150

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