oh earth have mercy
november rain, pale light. clay
on fingernails, the leap of
lily, a river's helpless flood. she sips
hot tea. will they mourn her? does she
know she's dead? the trickle of moss
down her window. she sets down her cup,
shuts her eyes, remembers spring,
the buoyancy of bee and buttercup.
sudden nostalgia scalds her lips. she's
far away, neighbours receding in fog.
my country is a hotel. my
nation is at war. her children
sit in rented pews.
the eulogist plagiarizes
television ads. we rise to the
organ's cloned chord, exit
two by two.
she opens the door. november rain
blinds her, the maple's kindness
steals her voice, she falls, sobbing,
into clay's black pulse.
© Robert Martens