My room is filled with black;
dresses, shawls, lace.
Silk slippers embroidered with fruits.
I lie still, face lifted up to heaven,
counting beads through my soft hands,
keeping my Bible close by.
My dead babies surround me;
our daughter lives like a ghost,
her presence a haunting.
I clutch the rope of the rosary
as a life-line,
its garnets and rubies shimmering
like seeds of the pomegranate
spilling in the firelight.
I dreamt myself in the deer park,
the weakened light
a sulphurous sun
embedded in rain-clouds.
Leaves faded scarlet and yellow-gold:
dying in truth, but displaying bold.
The hinds cluster, waiting.
The roar of a stag shakes up the air,
and I understand the danger
as he grunts and bellows,
I know I must avert my eyes,
not appear to challenge, or threaten.
He surveys his females from the rise,
wild with lust, desperate to mate.
He must have progeny.
Now, he challenges me,
and his eyes are dangerous.
Author - June Palmer