Transparent Words - Poetry

Barbara Phillips

Nativity Abstraction


she nods over the eggnog in her hand

face lined, suffused with tree glow


so long ago and yet I can’t forget

she says, as she turns, eyes moist from the smoky

fire or something else, it’s hard to tell


my sister and I, on the run, in the forest

heavy with bombs falling, drizzle, frost

more dead than alive


I was tempted just to lie down, let something kill me


then the cry; I thought it was a cat or a rabbit

an excuse to stop, roast something, try to camp

against logs sodden, yet giving the illusion of shelter


the body beside the child shattered, the child

in rags, stained by shreds of flesh, and the blood

enough to drown in, so thick, getting darker by the second


in the twilight of that Christmas Eve, when a silence

of sorts came back, as the seraphim of steel slipped

into clouds falling through pain torn horizons


when I picked her up I remembered what it was to be alive

we cleaned her off in an abandoned house, and from a surviving

cow we got milk; we got so giddy we cried


I told people at the refugee camp she was my daughter

we were each others’ angels; we went to the head of the

line with families for emigration, away from


forests haemorrhaging death, endings beyond reason

body parts sown across the underbrush in bizarre abstraction

mercy an alien unknown, tears another way of bleeding





Previous   Return to Contents   Next