Photo and Poem, Jaaningbirriny, 22 Feb

Life span

Passing Old Man’s Hat to Miilba’s lips
not beachcombing, but finding a leaf
on the sand. Leaves can’t grow here,
must be dead, out of place, but simply
beautiful, a spectrum of gilded earth,

the oak on the arms of an old chair,
figures in a Benin Bronze, statue of a saint
kissed for a thousand years, or brocade,
or Tollund Man, his cheeks polished by
two millennium, his eyes gripped tight.

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