2 poems by Lincoln Jaques

MEMORY

Woke up to sun this morning, the first sun

in a week. The trees seemed to open their 

leaves, stretch themselves, yawn achingly.

A magpie swooped across the overgrown lawn,

a cyclone of black and white feathers.

The warmth takes me back to Delhi, in the hotel 

that grew a forest in its foyer, the smell of manure 

floating around our room. One night I awoke from 

a dream in which I was trying to escape that forest. 

Past midnight, the temperature outside still over 35,

the loose rivets of the air-conditioner interrupting

our sleep patterns. I left you snoozing and pulled

open a curtain, letting in the light of the city –

there’s always light in that city, it never fades. 

The window shielded us from the struggle outside: 

the lit braziers of the kebab sellers, the dim bulbs

of the masala tea houses, couples huddled 

in booths, men collapsed across the seats 

of rickshaws, stray dogs sniffing at rubbish 

swept into street corners, a woman on a bicycle 

her crimson sari floating out behind like a tree on fire. 

You sigh, roll over on the mattress to cool 

your warmed side. The stars unhinge themselves,

falling and settling like sediment in a sluggish universe. 

THE DISAPPEARED

Air corrodes the colour from clouds

a beating butterfly spins into

rainwater, falls into the sun

reflected in the 

pool.

Deep in the earth the bats 

are dying, deeper than a tree’s

roots the worms are retreating.

Our own lives intersect into

raptures.

A denuded saint wept in the sand dunes

I saw the blood flowing from his 

temples. I saw the thorn dig into

his side. I saw the rib a cradle of

Christ.

It rained the morning we 

entered Zagreb. The church spires

caught the early sunlight; so many

we used them to count out our lost

loves. 

The butterfly breathed in an entire 

universe, a microcosm lost between 

the many times we arrive, balancing

the many times we need to

depart.

About the contributor

Lincoln Jaques’ poetry and fiction appear in Mother Mary Comes to Me: A Pop Culture Poetry Anthology (Madville Publishing), a fine line (NZ Poetry Society), The Blue Nib, Mayhem, Shot Glass Journal, Poetry New Zealand Yearbook, and Flash Frontiers. He lives in Auckland.

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