1. My Brother's Keeper
Between your thighs
My broken lips grow like wildflowers,
And bloom in the imperceptible cruelty of spring,
Because they wish your skin would absorb them.
I am lost in the wilderness of smoke and wood,
And the windows feel too weak to challenge
The audacity of this summer.
You mock my false Irish accent
And my ridiculous Bengali hair,
But my eyes are deeper than yours still.
I look for the relief of pleasure,
Because my priest left me to die
On this battlefield of broken lances
And deformed children,
And houses set to flame in the name of fairness,
And the smell of burning turpentine.
What relief do you seek from me,
My friend in the moonlight?
My brother, my stubborn philosopher,
You man of many indulgences?
You Devil on my left shoulder?
What relief do you seek from me
That you would wander so carelessly
Into these ruins of my once beautiful body?
2. The Artist
Between the canvas and the oil,
I did not know her shape too well.
I watched a while, I sketched a while,
I etched her aquiline profile,
She made me work, she made me toil,
Around my neck she tied the bell.
Between the abstract and the real,
I did not understand her name,
I stood before her grim demure,
(Was it so grim? I wasn't sure)
To myself she would not reveal
What made her proud, and brought me shame.
She said at last she had to go
Because the war was coming home.
We both put on our uniform,
Our room was comfortably warm,
Outside the sky was grey with snow,
From Dublin, all the way to Rome.
We marched too fast, we could not speak,
Good soldiers both, we fell in line.
She offered condescending grace,
She did not care why wars took place,
She said my shield made me look weak,
I thought her armour made her shine.
And when we lost the war at last,
And made our silent, swift retreat,
I could not help but hide a grin,
I could not wait for sweet Dublin,
To stay with her, to hold her fast,
My remedy for tired feet.
She never came, she never did.
She insisted she had to go.
I could not let her go in peace,
She would not sacrifice her ease.
My sister found me where I hid
And softly said, "I told you so."
And yet this museum persists
To hold my art in high esteem.
And everyday, in rain and snow,
People come, and people go,
To confirm that she still exists
In some impossible dream.